Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 13, 2011
Clemson and DriveSafety create new driving simulator for rehabilitation
Clemson University researchers, working with simulation technology company DriveSafety, have developed a new driving simulator designed for patient rehabilitation that now is being used at 11 Army, Navy and Veterans Affairs facilities.

Short-term hormone therapy plus radiation therapy increases survival for men with early-stage prostate cancer
Short-term hormone therapy (androgen deprivation therapy: ADT) given in combination with radiation therapy for men with early-stage prostate cancer increases their chance of living longer and not dying from the disease, compared with that of those who receive the same radiation therapy alone, according to a Radiation Therapy Oncology Group study published in the July 14 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

MUTE prototype displays excellent driving dynamics
Following months of preliminary work on computer simulations, the first completed prototype of the new electric concept car from Technische Universitaet Muenchen showed in its first driving tests that it possesses excellent driving properties -- not only in theory, but also in practice.

Is meditation the push-up for the brain?
UCLA researchers have found that long time meditators have stronger connections between brain regions, and show less age-related atrophy when compared to a control group.

Fewer aphids in organic crop fields
Farmers who spray insecticides against aphids as a preventative measure only achieve a short-term effect with this method.

Case Western Reserve restores breathing after spinal cord injury in rodent model
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine bridged a spinal cord injury and biologically regenerated lost nerve connections to the diaphragm, restoring breathing in an adult rodent model of spinal cord injury.

Improving K-12 science education in the US
A framework for K-12 science education, new from the National Research Council, identifies the key scientific concepts and practices that all students in these grades should learn.

Talking about faith increases hospital patients' overall satisfaction
Hospitalized patients who had conversations about religion and spirituality with the health-care team were the most satisfied with their overall care.

Penn study shows link between immune system suppression and blood vessel formation in tumors
Targeted therapies that are designed to suppress the formation of new blood vessels in tumors, such as Avastin, have slowed cancer growth in some patients.

Localized reactive badger culling raises bovine tuberculosis risk, new analysis confirms
Localized badger culling in response to bovine tuberculosis outbreaks increases the risk of infection in nearby herds, according to a new analysis.

Biologists discover an 'evening' protein complex that regulates plant growth
Farmers and other astute observers of nature have long known that crops like corn and sorghum grow taller at night.

Twin ARTEMIS probes to study moon in 3-D
Almost 2 years ago, two of five THEMIS satellites were boosted from their orbits around Earth toward the moon.

Structural factors integral to understanding girls' vulnerability to HIV in sub-Saharan Africa
A new study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health shows that community members correlate an increase in HIV vulnerability among adolescent girls with weak structural support systems.

Diesel fumes pose risk to heart as well as lungs, study shows
Tiny chemical particles emitted by diesel exhaust fumes could raise the risk of heart attacks, research has shown.

Progesterone inhibits growth of neuroblastoma cancer cells
High doses of the hormone progesterone can kill neuroblastoma cells while leaving healthy cells unscathed, scientists have found in laboratory research.

New method for making human-based gelatin
Scientists are reporting development of a new approach for producing large quantities of human-derived gelatin that could become a substitute for some of the 300,000 tons of animal-based gelatin produced annually for gelatin-type desserts, marshmallows, candy and innumerable other products.

Rise in risk inequality helps explain polarized US voters
A new study of political polarization in the United States suggests that changes in the labor market since the 1970s has helped create more Republican and Democratic partisans and fewer independents.

Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, July 2011
July 2011's story tips from ORNL include:

Efficient process using microrna converts human skin cells into neurons, Stanford study shows
The addition of two particular gene snippets to a skin cell's usual genetic material is enough to turn that cell into a fully functional neuron, report researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine.

New elegant technique used for genomic archaeology
Researchers have probed deeper into human evolution by developing an elegant new technique to analyze whole genomes from different populations.

Narrowest bridges of gold are also the strongest, study finds
At an atomic scale, the tiniest bridge of gold -- that made of a single atom -- is actually the strongest, according to new research by engineers at the University at Buffalo's Laboratory for Quantum Devices.

Stem cells restore cognitive abilities impaired by brain cancer treatment
Human neural stem cells are capable of helping people regain learning and memory abilities lost due to radiation treatment for brain tumors, a UC Irvine study suggests.

Neural mechanisms of object recognition
A study examining the brain of a person with object agnosia, a defect in the inability to recognize objects, is providing a unique window into the sophisticated brain mechanisms critical for object recognition.

Bold new approach to wind 'farm' design may provide efficiency gains
Conventional wisdom suggests that because we're approaching the theoretical limit on individual wind turbine efficiency, wind energy is now a mature technology.

Study explains why men are at higher risk for stomach cancer
MIT researchers show how estrogen protects women from the gastric inflammation that can lead to cancer.

Wind-turbine placement produces tenfold power increase, Caltech researchers say
The power output of wind farms can be increased at least tenfold simply by optimizing the placement of turbines on a given plot of land, say Caltech researchers conducting a unique field study at an experimental two-acre wind farm in northern Los Angeles County.

Moving data at the speed of science: Berkeley Lab lays foundation for 100 Gbps prototype network
Berkeley Lab today announced a major step toward creating one of the world's fastest scientific networks to accelerate research in fields ranging from advanced energy solutions to particle physics.

Research provides insight into new drug resistance in hospital microbes
Hospitals struggle to prevent the infections that complicate treatment for cancer, joint replacement, heart surgery and other conditions.

Health-care model improves diabetes outcomes, health
A health-care delivery model called patient-centered medical home increased the percentage of diabetes patients who achieved goals that reduced their sickness and death rates, according to health researchers.

New research reveals soil microbes accelerate global warming
More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes soil to release the potent greenhouse gases methane and nitrous oxide, new research published in this week's edition of Nature reveals.

Number of Mexican immigrants returning home dropped during latest recession, study finds
Fewer Mexican immigrants returned home from the United States during 2008 and 2009 than in the two years prior to the start of the recession, a finding that contradicts the notion that the economic downturn has hastened return migration to Mexico, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Molecules 'light up' Alzheimer's roots
A breakthrough in sensing at Rice University could make finding signs of Alzheimer's disease nearly as simple as switching on a light.

Gene migration helps predict movement of disease
Until recently, migration patterns, such as those adopted by birds all across the Amazonian rainforest, have not been thought to play an important role in the spreading of beneficial genes through a population.

1 more way plants help human health
A tiny plant called Arabidopsis thaliana just helped scientists unearth new clues about the daily cycles of many organisms, including humans.

Keeping up your overall health may keep dementia away
Improving and maintaining health factors not traditionally associated with dementia, such as denture fit, vision and hearing, may lower a person's risk for developing dementia, according to a new study published in the July 13, 2011, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

A closer look at the placebo effect
Study provides new insights into the placebo effect and suggests that in addition to active therapies, the idea of being cared for is important to patients' health.

New research demonstrates damaging influence of media on public perceptions of chimpanzees
How influential are mass media portrayals of chimpanzees in television, movies, advertisements and greeting cards on public perceptions of this endangered species?

Taking out a cancer's co-dependency
Scientists at the Broad Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital have discovered a novel compound that selectively kills cancer cells by blocking their response to oxidative stress, with an effectiveness that surpassed a chemotherapy drug currently used to treat breast cancer.

Separated for 20 million years: Blind beetle from Bulgarian caves clarifies questions
One of the smallest ever cave-dwelling ground beetles has recently been discovered in two caves in the Rhodopi Mountains, Bulgaria, and described under the name Paralovricia beroni.

New research demonstrates damaging influence of media on public perceptions of chimpanzees
How influential are mass media portrayals of chimpanzees in television, movies, advertisements and greeting cards on public perceptions of this endangered species?

Snow leopard population discovered in Afghanistan
The Wildlife Conservation Society has discovered a surprisingly healthy population of rare snow leopards living in the mountainous reaches of northeastern Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor, according to a new study.

MIT research update: New way to store sun's heat
A novel application of carbon nanotubes, developed by MIT researchers, shows promise as an innovative approach to storing solar energy for use whenever it's needed.

Research hopes to improve suits for fighting wildfires
You can hardly get through an evening news program without hearing about an out-of-control wildfire spreading across various parts of the country.

What activates a supermassive black hole?
A new study combining data from ESO's Very Large Telescope and ESA's XMM-Newton X-ray space observatory has turned up a surprise.

When well-known flu strains 'hook up' dangerous progeny can result
A new University of Maryland-led study finds that

One-third of central Catalan coast is very vulnerable to storm impact
Researchers from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia have developed a method for evaluating the vulnerability of coastal regions to the impact of storms.

Large waist doubles risk of kidney disease mortality
For kidney disease patients, a large belt size can double the risk of dying.

Stem cell treatment may restore cognitive function in patients with brain cancer
Stem cell therapy may restore cognition in patients with brain cancer who experience functional learning and memory loss often associated with radiation treatment, according to a laboratory study published in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Higher cigarette taxes don't deter all smokers
Raising taxes on cigarettes, a public health measure used by governments to encourage people to quit, doesn't motivate all smokers to stop the deadly habit.

UC Irvine study points to new approach to influenza's antiviral resistance
Researchers from the University of California, Irvine, with assistance from the San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego, have found a new approach to the creation of customized therapies for virulent flu strains that resist current antiviral drugs.

UT faculty improving surgical outcomes for children, cancer patients
Faculty and students across engineering disciplines are using novel 3-D surface imaging technology and complex algorithms to address one of the most difficult questions for cancer patients and children facing reconstructive surgery: Which surgical procedure is right for me?... continue reading

Tsunami airglow signature could lead to early detection system
Researchers at the University of Illinois have become the first to record an airglow signature in the upper atmosphere produced by a tsunami using a camera system based in Maui, Hawaii.

Climate adaptation of rice
Rice -- which provides nearly half the daily calories for the world's population -- could become adapted to climate change and some catastrophic events by colonizing its seeds or plants with the spores of tiny naturally occurring fungi, just-published US Geological Survey-led research shows.

Notre Dame research reveals brain network connections
Research conducted by Maria Ercsey-Ravasz and Zoltan Toroczkai of the University of Notre Dame's Interdisciplinary Center for Network Science and Applications (iCeNSA), along with the Department of Physics and a group of neuroanatomists in France, has revealed previously unknown information about the primate brain.

The future of cover crops
Cover crops can play a vital role in nutrient cycling, organic matter content and soil cover.

Health care in the home - new report July 18
For many reasons -- including the rising cost of health care and aging of the US population -- health care is increasingly moving from formal medical facilities into patients' homes.

New study confirms the existence of 'trial effect' in HIV clinical trials
A new study by investigators from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine has confirmed the existence of a

UAB researchers present a study on the psychological adaptation of adopted children
A study on adaptation variables in children from international adoption processes carried out by UAB researchers shows that adopted children do not present differences in general when compared to non adopted children.

Sociologists to explore social conflict at annual meeting in Las Vegas, Aug. 20-23
More than 5,000 sociologists will convene in Las Vegas, Nev., this August to explore ideas and scientific research relating to sociology and social conflict, as part of the American Sociological Association's 106th Annual Meeting.

Spread of fungus-farming beetles is bad news for trees
North Carolina State University researchers have found that a subset of fungus-farming ambrosia beetles may be in the early stages of a global epidemic threatening a number of economically important trees, including avocados, poplars and oaks.

25 Tesla, world-record 'split magnet' makes its debut
A custom-built, $2.5 million

Message in a bottle: Teaching business skills in developing countries
Two Baylor University professors use a bottle of Coca-Cola to teach basic business principles to minimally educated entrepreneurs in developing countries.

Pitt, Wake Forest team finds why stored transfusion blood may become less safe with age
Transfused blood may need to be stored differently to prevent the breakdown of red blood cells that can lead to complications including infection, organ failure and death, say researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Wake Forest University.

Study highlights respiratory disorders prevalent in the Middle East
Lung diseases in the Middle East range from the centuries-old pulmonary tuberculosis to modern manifestations caused by chemical warfare.

Researchers demystify a fountain of youth in the adult brain
Duke University Medical Center researchers have found that a

Penn researchers show single drug and soft environment can increase platelet production
Humans produce billions of clot-forming platelets every day, but there are times when there aren't enough of them, such as with certain diseases or during invasive surgery.

Media can now register for the world's largest scientific meeting for respiratory medicine
Media can now register for the world's largest scientific meeting for respiratory medicine: the annual European Respiratory Society Congress in Amsterdam, Sept.

R&D collaboration focuses on new system for measuring and improving human vision
With research and development assistance from the Georgia Tech Research Institute and seed funding from the Georgia Research Alliance, an Atlanta-based company is developing what it hopes will be the next-generation instrument for optimizing eyesight for the hundreds of millions of people who wear glasses or contacts -- or who are candidates for corrective surgery.

Stem cell 'memory' can boost insulin levels
Professor Shimon Efrat of Tel Aviv University has derived embryonic-like stem cells from adult stem cells that appear to retain their effectiveness in producing insulin in the human body.

Heart failure: Doing what your doctor says works
Doctors have been dispensing advice to heart failure patients and for the first time researchers have found that it works.

Modulation of inhibitory output is key function of antiobesity hormone
Scientists have known for some time that the hormone leptin acts in the brain to prevent obesity, but the specific underlying neurocircuitry has remained a mystery.

Warwick wins $2.7 million research grant to help 'cooltronics'
The University of Warwick Department of Physics has been awarded a prestigious five-year grant to the sum of £1.7 ($2.7) million for

IHME wins award for innovative mapping tool
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation received a Special Achievement in GIS Award today at the 2011 Esri International User Conference in San Diego.

Groundbreaking new journal on the applications of digital games to human health
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. announces the launch of Games for Health: Research, Development, and Clinical Applications (G4H), a new, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the development, use, and applications of game technology for improving physical and mental health and well-being.

Chile is more dangerous for Argentina than vice versa
Invasive plant species in Chile pose a higher threat to its neighbor, Argentina, than vice versa.

Carnegie Mellon and Princeton neuroscientists uncover neural mechanisms of object recognition
Neuroscientists from Carnegie Mellon University and Princeton University examined the brain of a person with object agnosia, a deficit in the ability to recognize objects, and have uncovered the neural mechanisms of object recognition.

Study explores best motivating factors for pursuing a shared goal such as giving
People who see the

Omega-3 reduces anxiety and inflammation in healthy students
A new study gauging the impact of consuming more fish oil showed a marked reduction both in inflammation and, surprisingly, in anxiety among a cohort of healthy young people.

The unsolved mystery of kava toxicity
A major new review of scientific knowledge on kava -- a plant used to make dietary supplements and a trendy drink with calming effects -- has left unsolved the mystery of why Pacific Island people can consume it safely, while people in the United States, Europe and other Western cultures sometimes experience toxic effects.

Light bulb phase-out offers new role for unsung heroes of electronics revolution
With the United States' phase-out of conventional incandescent light bulbs set to start in a few months, an article in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News describes how the ban on 100-watt bulbs portends a huge new wave of growth for the once lowly light-emitting diode.

Do women have what it takes?
A new Northwestern University meta-analysis (an integration of a large number of studies addressing the same question) shows that even today leadership continues to be viewed as culturally masculine.

Beautiful, but problematic, nonnative invasive plants identified in field guide
Thumbing through this guide and viewing the color and beauty of each plant, it is hard to realize that these are pests and invasive species.

PSA test for men could get a second life for breast cancer in women
The widely known PSA blood test for prostate cancer in men may get a second life as a much-needed new test for breast cancer, the most common form of cancer in women worldwide, scientists are reporting in a new study in the ACS journal Analytical Chemistry.

ONR-funded researchers examine new approaches for aircraft operations aboard carriers
An Office of Naval Research-sponsored effort to examine how aircraft carrier flight deck crews will manage manned and unmanned air vehicles completed a successful live demonstration, ONR announced July 13.

First study into GM Atlantic salmon mating reveals danger of escape to wild gene pool
If genetically modified Atlantic salmon were to escape from captivity they could succeed in breeding and passing their genes into the wild, Canadian researchers have found.

VOICE study will continue as it considers what action to take after results of 2 trials
Today, researchers from two major HIV prevention trials announced favorable results of an approach called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which involves the use of drugs commonly used for treating HIV.

Atomic structure discovered for a sodium channel that generates electrical signals in living cells
Scientists have determined the atomic structure of a sodium channel, a pore in membranes of excitable cells, such as brain or heart cells, that emit electrical signals.

Study identifies patients at increased risk after bilateral knee replacement surgery
A new study by researchers at Hospital for Special Surgery has identified patients who are at a higher risk of morbidity and mortality when undergoing knee replacement surgery in both legs at the same time.

Smelly socks could be a key to preventing malaria deaths in the developing world
Tanzanian researchers will receive two years' funding to further develop a device based on their successful use of human foot odor to lure disease-spreading mosquitoes into a trap.

Pivotal study in Africa finds that HIV medications prevent HIV infection
An international study has demonstrated that individuals at high risk for HIV infection who took a daily tablet containing an HIV medication -- either the antiretroviral medication tenofovir or tenofovir in combination with emtricitabine -- experienced significantly fewer HIV infections than those who received a placebo pill.

Fellowships for outstanding research in drug use and HIV awarded by IAS and NIDA
The International AIDS Society (IAS) and the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) today announced the recipients of their third annual joint research fellowships.

The only European researcher to win this year's Early Career Bayer Hemophilia Award is Portuguese
Vanessa Oliveira, researcher at the Instituto de Medicina Molecular in Portugal won a prestigious and competitive Early Career Bayer Hemophilia Award.

Cancer data not readily available for future research
A new study finds that -- even in a field with clear standards and online databases -- the rate of public data archiving in cancer research is increasing only slowly.

Moessbauer group of Mainz University preparing for participation in Japanese moon mission
The Moessbauer Group at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany, has made a significant contribution towards the exploration of Mars during its long-term cooperation with the US space agency NASA.

Natural gas produced from fine milling of precious metals
Roger Anderson, President of X9 Gold Development, Inc., announced today that multiple tests conducted over the past 18 months have demonstrated that carbon in precious metal ores can be converted to natural gas (methane) during fine milling utilizing X9 Gold's Bubble Mill Technology.

Sea urchins cannot control invasive seaweeds
Exotic marine species, including giant seaweeds, are spreading fast, with harmful effects on native species, and are increasingly affecting the biodiversity of the Mediterranean seabed.

Evolved stars locked in fatalistic dance
White dwarfs are the burned-out cores of stars like our sun.

Colorful boundary trespassers: Burrowing parrots crossed the Andes 120,000 years ago
The different populations of the South American burrowing parrot originated in Chile.

Risoe DTU and Mekoprint distribute 10,000 polymer-solar-cell-powered flashlights
The mass production of organic photovoltaic cells is both feasible and inexpensive.

Misdiagnosis of spider bites delaying appropriate treatment for common conditions and unnecessary use of antivenom putting patients at risk
For centuries spiders have been feared by humans but their notoriety has been fueled by anecdotal reports rather than scientific evidence. 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