Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 25, 2011
How to tell real whiskey from fake -- faster
Methods for distinguishing between authentic and counterfeit Scotch whiskey brands have been devised by scientists at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.

Warming climate likely to dramatically increase Yellowstone fires by mid-century
Climate is changing fire patterns in the west in a way that could markedly change the face of Yellowstone National Park, according to new research.

Catching the West Nile virus in action
Professor Ella Mendelson of Tel Aviv University has developed a new method that can track both clinical cases of West Nile Virus and populations of infected mosquitos, identifying

Study exposes habit formation in smartphone users
Smartphone users develop the habit of frequently checking their phones for e-mail, social media, and news, shows a study by Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT and Intel Labs.

New data-based strategies and treatment models can improve diabetes care for older African-Americans
Better data are needed to evaluate access to care by minority groups at increased risk for diabetes, such as older African-Americans, and to assess the benefits of new community-based treatment strategies, including greater use of health information technology and access to multilevel diabetes education teams, according to a report in Population Health Management, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert Inc.

NHS ill prepared to care for obese patients
The NHS is poorly prepared to care for obese patients, lacking dedicated equipment and adequately trained staff, among other things, reveals an analysis of patient safety incidents, published online in Postgraduate Medical Journal.

Global depression statistics
Depression affects 121 million people worldwide. In can affect a person's ability to work, form relationships, and destroy their quality of life.

In-state tuition for undocumented students not a partisan issue, study finds
Political ideology and partisanship don't play much of a role in whether a state considers extending in-state college tuition to undocumented immigrants, according to a new study in the American Journal of Education.

Rare coupling of magnetic and electric properties in a single material
Researchers at the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have observed a new way that magnetic and electric properties -- which have a long history of ignoring and counteracting each other -- can coexist in a special class of metals.

Mismatch between cancer genetics counseling and testing guidelines and physician practices
A new analysis has found that many doctors report that they do not appropriately offer breast and ovarian cancer counseling and testing services to their female patients.

What is war good for? Sparking civilization, suggest UCLA archaeology findings from Peru
Raiding, triggered by political conflict in the 5th century BC, likely shaped the development of the first settlement that would classify as a civilization in the Titicaca basin in southern Peru, a suggests a new UCLA study.

Heavy metal: Titanium implant safety under scrutiny
A new strategy to quantify the levels of titanium in the blood of patients fitted with titanium orthopedic implants is presented in Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry.

Children eating more, and more frequently outside the home
According to a study conducted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and published in the August 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, eating location and food source significantly impact daily energy intake for children.

Study examines screening for pancreatic cancer in high-risk populations
Researchers from New England report in a new study that using a tumor marker, serum CA 19-9, combined with an endoscopic ultrasound if the tumor marker is elevated, is more likely to detect stage 1 pancreatic cancer in a high-risk population than by using the standard means of detection.

1 tiny electron could be key to furture drugs that repair sunburn
Researchers who have been working for nearly a decade to piece together the process by which an enzyme repairs sun-damaged DNA have finally witnessed the entire process in full detail in the laboratory.

Artificial lung mimics real organ's design and efficiency
An artificial lung built by Cleveland researchers has reached efficiencies akin to the genuine organ, using air -- not pure oxygen as current man-made lungs require -- for the source of the essential element.

Harmful effects of hypothyroidism on maternal and fetal health drive new guidelines for managing thyroid disease in pregnancy
Emerging data clarifying the risks of insufficient thyroid activity during pregnancy on the health of the mother and fetus, and on the future intellectual development of the child, have led to new clinical guidelines for diagnosing and managing thyroid disease during this critical period.

E. William Colglazier named State Department Science and Technology Adviser
E. William (Bill) Colglazier, recently retired executive officer of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council, has been selected to be the new Science and Technology Adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Tropical Depression 10W bringing rain to the Philippines
The tenth tropical depression formed in the western North Pacific Ocean this past weekend, and brought rains to the central Philippines as seen on infrared imagery from a NASA satellite.

UCSB scholars study the evolution of human generosity
Imagine you're dining at a restaurant in a city you're visiting for the first -- and, most likely the last -- time.

Sharper, deeper, faster
For modern biologists, the ability to capture high-quality, three-dimensional (3-D) images of living tissues or organisms over time is necessary to answer problems in areas ranging from genomics to neurobiology and developmental biology.

Accident protection in the windshield
Driver-assistance systems help prevent accidents. Quite simply, the more a car knows about its surroundings, the more intelligently it can respond to them.

New gene discovered: Sheds light on the evolution of life on Earth
A chance discovery of a genetic mutation in wild barley that grows in Israel's Judean Desert, in the course of a doctoral study at the University of Haifa, has led to an international study deciphering evolution of life on land.

High-throughput screen finds compounds that regulate cancer cell invasion
Sanford-Burnham scientists screened a collection of pharmacologically active compounds to identify those that regulate invadopodia formation, a driving force behind cancer metastasis.

Minority rules: Scientists discover tipping point for the spread of ideas
Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have found that when just 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief, their belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society.

Heart disease prevention -- a good investment for individuals, communities
Preventing heart disease before it starts is a good long-term investment in the health of our nation.

Shuttle service in cells
Research scientists at the Ruhr University Bochum discovered a new enzyme, which gives decisive insights into protein import into specific cellular organelles (peroxisomes).

In pregnancy, diabetes-obesity combo a major red flag
Type 2 diabetes and obesity in pregnancy is a daunting duo, according to a study that shows both conditions independently contribute to higher risks, opening the door to numerous complications.

US Department of Energy and India partner to advance accelerator and particle detector R&D
The US Department of Energy has signed an agreement with the Indian Department of Atomic Energy to help advance scientific discovery in the field of accelerator and particle detector research.

Culprits and cures for obesity may reside in our gut
Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown and fellow researchers at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, in collaboration with Dr.

LabBits: News from the Marine Biological Laboratory
New research from the MBL in Woods Hole on jelly locomotion, the impact of the Gulf oil spill on animal development, how fish process sound, and nerve cell regeneration after spinal cord injury.

Anglo-French team discover elusive gene that makes platelets gray
Researchers have identified an elusive gene responsible for Gray Platelet Syndrome, an extremely rare blood disorder in which only about 50 known cases have been reported.

Magnesium Award 2011: Scientist honored for new high performance alloy
The Magnesium Research Award, endowed with 5,000 euro, has been conferred by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht since 2007.

Saving fuel while plowing
Less friction, less power, less fuel -- plowshares coated with diamond-like carbon slide through the soil like a hot knife through butter.

Pregnancy hormone has unprecedented, powerful effect on spinal muscular atrophy
Although spinal muscular atrophy is caused by the loss of a specific gene, all infants and children with SMA have an untouched highly similar gene within their genetic make up.

Glycans enter mainstream of biomedical science
Scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have received a major 7-year, $18 million grant to begin translating emerging discoveries in the field of glycosciences into new discoveries and therapies related to heart, lung and blood diseases.

Chicago Innovation Mentors receive $60,000 grant from Chicago Biomedical Consortium
Less than nine months after its launch, the Chicago Innovation Mentors has received a $60,000 grant from the Chicago Biomedical Consortium, which is supported by the Searle Funds at the Chicago Community Trust.

Study: Some moms 'doppelgang' their daughters' style
How much do our children influence our consumption behavior? More than we thought.

Computer program could 'revolutionize the world's health care'
A massive network of computer programs co-created by University of Manchester scientists could revolutionize health care around the world, saving countless lives and billions of pounds.

Specialized regulatory T cell stifles antibody production centers
A regulatory T cell that expresses three specific genes shuts down the mass production of antibodies launched by the immune system to attack invaders, a team led by scientists at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center reported online in the journal Nature Medicine.

Exploring science through underwater robotics
The Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education at Stevens is leading a National Science Foundation initiative to improve K-12 STEM skills and education through fun summer camps and educator institutes.

St. Joseph's scientist receives grant for post-partum research
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded Robert Garfield, Ph.D., a researcher at St.

ISU research: Corn yields with perennial cover crop are equal to traditional farming
Farmers can still see yields of more than 200 bushels per acre while using cover crops to protect the soil, improve water quality and capture carbon in the soil, according to new research by ISU's Ken Moore, professor in ISU's Department of Agronomy.

Hiding vegetables in kids' foods can increase vegetable intake
Preschool children consumed nearly twice as many vegetables and 11 percent fewer calories over the course of a day when researchers Penn State added pureed vegetables to the children's favorite foods.

Illinois scientists learn startling new truth about sugar
Flying in the face of years of scientific belief, University of Illinois researchers have demonstrated that sugar doesn't melt, it decomposes.

Double jeopardy: Tuna and billfish
Study in Science by top fisheries experts presents alarming assessment of several economically important fish populations.

Treating HIV sooner would save South African lives and money
If South Africa followed a new World Health Organization recommendation to give antiretroviral therapy to people with HIV when they were still at a higher level of health, it would reduce new infections, lengthen thousands of lives, and recoup the government's investment by 2026, according to new research.

Climate-change-induced wildfires may alter Yellowstone forests
Climate change in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem will increase the frequency of wildfires and alter the composition of the forests by 2050, according to a team of ecologists who modeled the effects of higher temperatures on fire occurrence.

Study finds important risk factors for death/transplantation in children with heart muscle disease
Researchers have identified important risk factors for death and transplantation in children with dilated cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease), according to results from a study supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

National Academy of Inventors to hold first annual conference
The National Academy of Inventors, a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to honoring, recognizing and encouraging university-based inventors, will holds its inaugural annual conference Feb.

Cheer up: A view of how fatty foods makes you feel less sad
It is well known that there is an intimate relationship between emotional state and food intake -- we choose chocolate over an apple when overworked and stressed and comfort food makes us feel better.

Engineering innovation center brings together tools to launch future entrepreneurs
The National Science Foundation has awarded a $10 million grant over five years to launch a national center based at Stanford University for teaching innovation and entrepreneurship in engineering.

Researchers identify risk factor pathways for PTSS in female and male veterans
Researchers affiliated with Boston University School of Medicine have found that risk factors for post-traumatic stress symptomatology (PTSS) among Operation Enduring Freedom/Operational Iraqi Freedom male veterans were relatively similar to what was observed in a prior group of Vietnam veterans.

Women & Infants introduces integrated program for high-risk pregnancy
Women & Infants Hospital has created New England's only fully integrated center for the care of women with high-risk pregnancies and their developing fetuses.

For the love of trees: Book tells all about forest hydrology, biogeochemistry
Recently, University of Delaware professor Delphis (Del) Levia, put his passion for trees to work, as editor of the new book Forest Hydrology and Biogeochemistry: Synthesis of Past Research and Future Directions.

Novel gene increases yeast's appetite for plant sugars
For thousands of years, bakers and brewers have relied on yeast to convert sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide.

University of Houston student awarded Hogg Foundation Scholarship
Ana Luisa Laws, a second-year student in the master of social work program at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, is one of five outstanding graduate students in Texas to receive the prestigious 2011 Ima Hogg Scholarship for Mental Health.

Comprehensive immigrant and refugee health guidelines new resource for physicians
The largest, most comprehensive evidence-based guidelines to immigrant health -- designed to help Canadian physicians meet the unique needs of this group -- are being published in CMAJ.

Discovery places turtles next to lizards on family tree
For decades, paleontologists and molecular biologists have disagreed about whether turtles are more closely related to birds and crocodiles or to lizards.

Drug shown to improve sight for patients with inherited blindness
A condition which robs patients of their sight has for the first time been reversed with a drug, giving some people legally certified as blind, useful vision to improve everyday life.

Study: Doctors differ in how best to care for America's 12 million cancer survivors
There are major differences between oncologists and primary care physicians regarding knowledge, attitudes, and practices required to care for America's 12 million cancer survivors.

Scientists discover potential stroke treatment that may extend time to prevent brain damage
A naturally occurring substance shrank the size of stroke-induced lesions in the brains of experimental mice -- even when administered as much as 12 hours after the event, Stanford University School of Medicine researchers have shown.

Sandia's CANARY software protects water utilities from terrorist attacks and contaminants
Americans are used to drinking from the kitchen tap without fear of harm, even though water utilities might be vulnerable to terrorist attacks or natural contaminants.

Animal species large and small follow same rule for how common they are in ecosystems
Animal species all follow the same rule for how common they are in an ecosystem, scientists have discovered.

Test measuring blood glucose control may help predict risk of CVD events in patients with diabetes
Measuring hemoglobin A 1c (HbA 1c ) levels in patients with diabetes is associated with improvement in models for predicting risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to a report published Online First today by Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Oncologists publish HPV manual for physicians
A pair of oncologists in the Program in Women's Oncology at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island recently co-authored a pocket-sized guide to the human papilloma virus (HPV) so physicians can make more accurate diagnosis and plan more effective treatment for women with the virus.

Excluding children from discussions about their hospital care causes unnecessary distress
Children who are excluded from discussions about their hospital care often feel scared and angry that no-one is listening to them or telling them what is going on.

Study: Climate change to increase Yellowstone wildfires dramatically
An increase in wildfires due to climate change could rapidly and profoundly alter the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, according to a new study by UC Merced Professor Anthony Westerling.

Antibiotic appears more effective than cranberry capsules for preventing urinary tract infections
In premenopausal women who have repeated urinary tract infections, the antibiotic trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole appeared more effective than cranberry capsules for preventing recurrent infections, at the risk of contributing to antibiotic resistance, according to a report in the July 25 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

UT Southwestern scientists discover new pathway to potential therapies for advanced prostate cancer
UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have narrowed the potential drug targets for advanced prostate cancer by demonstrating that late-stage tumors are driven by a different hormonal pathway than was thought previously.

Studies evaluate programs to transition care of patients after hospital discharge
Programs designed to help transition care for hospitalized older patients to outside health care clinicians and settings are associated with reduced rates of hospital readmissions, according to two reports in the July 25 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Pacific Northwest trees struggle for water while standing in it
Contrary to expectations, researchers have discovered that the conifers of the Pacific Northwest, some of the tallest trees in the world, face their greatest water stress during the region's eternally wet winters, not the dog days of August when weeks can pass without rain.

SwRI suborbital payload specialists move to flight planning phase, release mission patch
As part of an effort to advance commercial human spaceflight, Southwest Research Institute suborbital payload specialists are beginning the flight planning phase of their first flights.

Mitochondria share an ancestor with SAR11, a globally significant marine microbe
A recent study by researchers at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, and the Oregon State University provides strong evidence that mitochondria share a common evolutionary ancestor with a lineage of marine bacteria known as SAR11, arguably the most abundant group of microorganisms on Earth.

Exercise has numerous beneficial effects on brain health and cognition, review suggests
A new article highlights the results of more than a hundred recent human and animal studies on how aerobic exercise and strength training play a vital role in maintaining brain and cognitive health throughout life.

Retinal cells thoughts to be the same are not, JHU biologist says
Light-sensing cells in the eye that were thought to be identical and responsible for both setting the body's circadian rhythm and the pupil's reaction to light and darkness are actually two different cells, each responsible for one of those tasks.

Trend in young adults' dating habits, committed relationships may not lead to marriage
Changes in relationship formation and dissolution in the past 50 years have revealed new patterns in romantic relations among young adults.

Diamond impurities bonanza for geologists studying Earth's history
Jewelers abhor diamond impurities, but they are a bonanza for scientists.

University of Houston professor co-authors PNAS paper on how bacteria move
A University of Houston researcher is studying how bacteria move along various surfaces before they form potentially dangerous biofilms.

International conference launches revolutionary South Asia autism network
Autism Speaks, the world's largest autism science and advocacy organization, hosted

Beetles play an important role in reducing weeds
Researchers funded by the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the French Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique have found that ground beetles reduce the amount of weed seeds in the soil.

Predictors of dying suddenly versus surviving heart attack identified
While there are many traits that are common among heart attack patients -- both those who survive the event and those who die suddenly -- researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have identified several traits that can be used to differentiate between risk of dying suddenly versus living through a heart attack.

Older people find it harder to see the wood for the trees
When looking at a picture of many trees, young people will tend to say:

Global bioterrorism threat analyzed for world animal health office
Around the globe, many nations are realizing that the potential for bioterrorism isn't just about the US, officials say.

Researchers provide detailed picture of ice loss following the collapse of Antarctic ice shelves
An international team of researchers has combined data from multiple sources to provide the clearest account yet of how much glacial ice surges into the sea following the collapse of Antarctic ice shelves.

10 years later, 9/11 tragedy has wide-ranging psychological impacts
Short-term and long-term psychological effects of the 9/11 attacks spread far beyond New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pa., according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

Piezoelectric nanowires allow electrical signals to be produced from mechanical actions
Taking advantage of the unique properties of zinc oxide nanowires, researchers have demonstrated a new type of piezoelectric resistive switching device in which the write-read access of memory cells is controlled by electromechanical modulation.

BUSM awarded $9 million to investigate treatment for sickle cell disease using iPS cells
Researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine were recently awarded a five-year $9 million grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to mass-produce sickle cell anemia-specific induced pluripotent stem cells.

New insight into a therapeutic approach to treating SMA
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is the most frequently inherited cause of infant mortality.

Dr. William Kuperman selected as 2011 recipient of the Walter Munk Award
Dr. William Kuperman has been selected as the 2011 recipient the Walter Munk Award for Distinguished Research in Oceanography Related to Sound and the Sea.

Clinical trial of molecular therapy for muscular dystrophy yields significant positive results
A molecular technique originally developed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has taken one step closer to becoming a treatment for the devastating genetic disease Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Stanford scientists use new technology to show that interrupted sleep impairs memory in mice
With the novel use of a technique that uses light to control brain cells, Stanford University researchers have shown that fragmented sleep causes memory impairment in mice.

Sexual anxiety, personality predictors of infidelity, study says
People with sexual performance anxiety are more likely to cheat on their partners.

Sandia National Labs completes final scan of space shuttle heat shield
After Columbia's debris-damaged heat shield failed in 2003, causing the tragic accident that took the lives of all seven on board, Sandia developed a laser dynamic range imager, or LDRI, which generates 3-D images from 2-D video.

JCI online early table of contents: July 25, 2011
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for papers to be published July 25, 2011, in the JCI: Cheer up: a view of how fatty foods makes you feel less sad; New insight into a therapeutic approach to treating SMA; Quantity of immune response key to flu vaccine efficacy in the elderly; Setting the pace for a new therapeutic target for a common heart condition; and others.

Identical virus, host populations coexist for centuries
A scientist analyzing ancient plankton DNA signatures in sediments of the Black Sea has found that the same genetic populations of a virus and its algal host can persist -- and coexist -- for centuries.

New study finds cancer-causing mineral in US road gravel
Vehicles traveling along gravel roads in Dunn County, North Dakota stir up clouds of dust containing high levels of the mineral erionite.

Diabetes mortality rates in status Aboriginal adults in Alberta concerning
Diabetes rate increases in status Aboriginal adults in Alberta appear to be slowing compared with the general population, although diabetes is more common in status Aboriginals and death rates for this group are significantly higher than the general population, states an article in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
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