Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 15, 2011
Response to alcohol, peers, expectancies, and coping all contribute to adolescent drinking
A low level of response (LR) to alcohol is one of several genetically influenced characteristics that may increase an individual's risk for heavy drinking and alcohol problems.

Stress and alcohol 'feed' each other
Acute stress is thought to precipitate alcohol drinking. Yet the ways that acute stress can increase alcohol consumption are unclear.

Crystals detect threats to national security
Using a crystal ball to protect homeland security might seem far-fetched, but researchers at Wake Forest University and Fisk University have partnered to develop crystals that can be used to detect nuclear threats, radioactive material or chemical bombs more accurately and affordably.

New understanding of biomarkers could lead to earlier diagnosis of fatal diseases
A new research paper sheds light on the way antibodies distinguish between different but closely related

When minor planets Ceres and Vesta rock the Earth into chaos
Astronomy & Astrophysics is publishing a new study of the orbital evolution of minor planets Ceres and Vesta, a few days before the flyby of Vesta by the Dawn spacecraft.

U.Va.'s Pfister accomplishes breakthrough toward quantum computing
To build a quantum computer, one needs to create and precisely control individual quantum memory units, called qubits, for information processing.

UWM research offers hope for treatment of cocaine addiction
UWM researchers discovered that a common beta blocker, used to treat people with hypertension, has shown to be effective in preventing the brain from retrieving memories associated with cocaine use in animal-addiction models.

NASA's Aura satellite measures pollution 'butterfly' from fires in central Africa
Fires raging in central Africa are generating a high amount of pollution that is showing up in data from NASA's Aura Satellite, with the ominous shape of a dark red butterfly in the skies over southern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and northern Angola.

Scientists seek to increase science literacy
A scientist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and colleague at Emory University are seeking to persuade the National Science Foundation to reevaluate its decision to cancel a program that has placed 10,000 science graduate students in more than 6,000 K-12 public schools across the country.

Low amounts of alcohol have different effects on left and right ventricles of the heart
Few studies have examined the acute effects of alcohol on myocardial or heart function.

OHSU scientists discover new role for vitamin C in the eye -- and the brain
Nerve cells in the eye require vitamin C in order to function properly -- a surprising discovery that may mean vitamin C is required elsewhere in the brain for its proper functioning, according to a study by scientists at Oregon Health & Science University recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Loss of large predators caused widespread disruption of ecosystems
The study looked at research results from a wide range of terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems and concluded,

In-shell pistachios: The original 'slow food?'
Two studies published in the current online issue of the journal Appetite indicate that consuming in-shell pistachios is a weight-wise approach to healthy snacking, offering unique mindful eating benefits to help curb consumption and decrease calorie intake.

Natural chemical found in grapes may protect against Alzheimer's disease
Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have found that grape seed polyphenols -- a natural antioxidant -- may help prevent the development or delay the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

Research reveals dynamics behind magical thinking and charismatic leadership
Research by Columbia Business School's Michael Morris, Chavkin-Chang Professor of Leadership; Maia Young, assistant professor of Human Resources and Organization Behavior, UCLA Anderson School of Management and Vicki Scherwin, Assistant Professor, Management and Human Resources Management, California State University, Long Beach, suggests that we attribute certain leaders to be charismatic through

USC researchers explore the source of empathy in the brain
According to a new study from USC, even failing to possess a full complement of limbs will not stop your brain from understanding what it is like for someone else to experience pain in one of them.

Research links telomere length to emphysema risk
Telomeres, the body's own cellular clocks, may be a crucial factor underlying the development of emphysema, according to research from Johns Hopkins University.

Strong El Niño could bring increased sea levels, storm surges to US East Coast
Coastal communities along the US East Coast may be at risk to higher sea levels accompanied by more destructive storm surges in future El Niño years, according to a new study by NOAA.

Massachusetts health-care reform increased access to care, particularly among disadvantaged
A Harvard research team has found that Massachusetts health reform has effectively increased access to health care and reduced disparities.

New gene for intellectual disability discovered
A gene linked to intellectual disability was found in a study involving the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health -- a discovery that was greatly accelerated by international collaboration and new genetic sequencing technology, which is now being used at CAMH.

Novel DNA sequencer for MDC's systems biology
The Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology of the Max Delbrueck Center, Germany, will be the first academic research institution in Continental Europe to acquire a novel DNA sequencer enabling the sequencing of single DNA molecules in real time.

Scientists to assemble 'knowledgebase' on plants, microbes, to aid US biofuel, environment efforts
Two CSHL investigators are among leaders of a multi-institutional effort announced this week by the US Department of Energy to create out of many separate streams of biological information a single, integrated cyber-

Adolescent binge drinking can damage spatial working memory
Binge drinking is prevalent during adolescence. Adolescence is also a crucial developmental time for cognitive functioning, including spatial working memory.

Penn vet researchers show lymphoma drug shrinks dog tumors, could lead to human treatment
There are many kinds of cancers of the immune system, but one, activated B-cell diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, is particularly common and pernicious.

Machines to compare notes online?
The best way for autonomous machines, networks and robots to improve in future will be for them to publish their own upgrade suggestions on the Internet.

Making blood-sucking deadly for mosquitoes
Inhibiting a molecular process cells use to direct proteins to their proper destinations causes more than 90 percent of affected mosquitoes to die within 48 hours of blood feeding, a team of biochemists at the University of Arizona discovered.

Nursing home residents at heightened risk of falling in the days following
Nursing home residents taking certain antidepressant medications are at an increased risk of falling in the days following the start of a new prescription or a dose increase of their current drug, according to a new study by the Institute for Aging Research of Hebrew SeniorLife, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School.

Fossil forensics reveals how wasps populated rotting dinosaur eggs
Exceptionally preserved fossils of insect cocoons have allowed researchers in Argentina to describe how wasps played an important role in food webs devoted to consuming rotting dinosaur eggs.

Steven Ruuth receives SIAM's Germund Dahlquist Prize
Steven J. Ruuth, a professor of Applied and Computational Mathematics at Simon Fraser University has been awarded the Germund Dahlquist Prize.

SDSC Visualizations win 'OASCR' Awards at SciDAC 2011
Two visualizations created by researchers at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego, and other academic institutions are among the recipients of the people's choice OASCR awards announced this week at the 2011 SciDAC (Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing Program) conference.

Conducting energy on a nano scale
Professor Eran Rabani of Tel Aviv University has succeeded in making delicate and sensitive nanocrystals susceptible to the engineering techniques that would make them practical semi-conductors.

Pity the boss man
Ecologists at Princeton University recently discovered top-ranking male baboons exhibit higher levels of stress hormones than second-ranking males, suggesting that being at the top of a social hierarchy may be more costly than previously thought.

World's forests' role in carbon storage immense, profound
Until now, scientists were uncertain about how much and where in the world terrestrial carbon is being stored.

Typhoon Ma-on's eye seen in NASA satellite Images
The eye of a tropical cyclone is an indication of a strong storm, and Typhoon Ma-on's eye was apparent in visible and infrared imagery captured by NASA's Aqua satellite.

Mayo researchers: Genetic mutation linked to Parkinson's disease
Researchers have discovered a new gene mutation they say causes Parkinson's disease.

Discovery opens new options for improving transfusions
Donated red blood cells lose a key feature that diminishes their lifesaving power the longer they have been stored, according to researchers at Duke University Medical Center.

Children with public health insurance less likely to receive comprehensive primary care
Children with public insurance are 22 percent less likely to receive comprehensive primary care than those with private insurance, according to new research from the University of Michigan Medical School.

AGU journal highlights -- July 15, 2011
Featured in this release are research papers on the following topics:

Informed-consent forms should be shortened, simplified, Johns Hopkins bioethicists confirm
An in-depth review of consent forms provided to volunteers for HIV/AIDS research in the United States and abroad about study procedures, risks and benefits has found that the forms were extremely long and used wording that may have been complex enough to hinder full understanding, according to bioethicists at the Johns Hopkins University.

New health-care payment system slows spending while improving patient care
In a new study with implications for state and federal efforts to reform payments to doctors and hospitals to encourage greater coordination of care, Harvard Medical School researchers found that a global payment system underway in Massachusetts lowered medical spending while improving the quality of patient care relative to the traditional fee-for-service system.

Social enterprise project brings 'Right Light' to African communities
Entrepreneurial students from the University of Southampton have set up a new project to improve standards of living and future economic opportunities in rural African communities, by replacing kerosene with solar lamps.

Rising oceans -- too late to turn the tide?
Melting ice sheets contributed much more to rising sea levels than thermal expansion of warming ocean waters during the Last Interglacial Period, a team led by scientists at the University of Arizona has found.

California nurse staffing
In a comprehensive analysis comparing nurse staffing in California hospitals to similar hospitals in the US over nearly a decade, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing have found that controversial legislation setting nurse-to-patient ratios added more registered nurses to the hospital staffing mix, not fewer as feared. 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