Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 27, 2011
Tropical Depression 11W moving past Yap and Guam
A NASA satellite has observed Tropical Depression 11W become more organized on infrared imagery.

NOAA, Bermuda partner to protect humpback whales in the North Atlantic
NOAA's Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and the Government of Bermuda have pledged cooperation on scientific and educational programs to better protect the endangered North Atlantic humpback whale population.

From detonation to diapers: Los Alamos computer codes at core of advanced manufacturing tools
Computational tools developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory to help ensure the reliability of the nation's nuclear weapons deterrent in the absence of testing are helping industry giants ensure the reliability of their manufacturing processes.

10 million injecting drug users worldwide have hepatitis C and 1.3 million have hepatitis B
To coincide with World Hepatitis Day, an article is being published online first by the Lancet detailing the first global estimates of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection prevalence in injecting drug users (IDUs).

Social deficits associated with autism, schizophrenia induced in mice with new technology
Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine have been able to switch on, and then switch off, social-behavior deficits in mice that resemble those seen in people with autism and schizophrenia, thanks to a technology that allows scientists to precisely manipulate nerve activity in the brain.

As unhealthy food outlets multiply, teens eat more junk
Nearly three-quarters of California teenagers live or go to school in neighborhoods disproportionately crowded with fast food and other outlets that sell unhealthy food, including convenience stores, liquor stores, dollar stores and pharmacies.

Speed cameras in urban areas save millions in cash
The deployment of speed cameras in urban areas saves vast amounts of money as well as lives, reveals a two year financial analysis, published online in Injury Prevention.

Protecting networks is just a game
Information technologist Heechang Shin of Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y., has used game theory to develop a defense mechanism for networks that is more effective than previous approaches.

Farmers more likely to be green if they talk to their neighbors, according to MSU research
Besides helping each other plant and harvest, rural Chinese neighbors also influence each other's environmental behavior -- farmers are more likely to reenroll their land in a conservation program if they talk to their neighbors about it.

Cod resurgence in Canadian waters
Cod and other groundfish populations off the east coast of Canada are showing signs of recovery more than 20 years after the fisheries collapsed in the early 1990s, according to research published today in Nature.

DNA solves identities of Australian melons and loofah
Molecular data have shown that three Australian Cucurbitaceae species initially collected in 1856 but never accepted as separate species are distinct from each other and that one of them is the closest relative of the honeymelon, Cucumis melo.

SDO spots extra energy in the sun's corona
Like giant strands of seaweed some 32,000 miles high, material shooting up from the sun sways back and forth with the atmosphere.

New invisibility cloak hides objects from human view
For the first time, scientists have devised an invisibility cloak material that hides objects from detection using light that is visible to humans.

Out-of-the-blue panic attacks aren't without warning -- body sends signals for hour before
Panic attacks that seem to strike out-of-the-blue are not without warning after all, says psychologist Alicia Meuret, Southern Methodist University, Dallas.

New therapy may help people with unexplained symptoms of pain, weakness and fatigue
A new type of therapy may help people with symptoms such as pain, weakness, or dizziness that can't be explained by an underlying disease, according to a study published in the July 27, 2011, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Review of 700,000 women reveals factors affecting vaginal birth after previous cesarean
A wide range of clinical and non-clinical factors can affect whether women go on to have a vaginal delivery after having a cesarean.

Bizarre insect inbreeding signals an end to males: News tips from the American Naturalist
Article highlights include

Yoga boosts stress-busting hormone, reduces pain: York U study
A new study by York University researchers finds that practicing yoga reduces the physical and psychological symptoms of chronic pain in women with fibromyalgia.

Joint replacement surgery increases risk of blood clot formation in certain patients
A new study focusing on the occurrence of clots in knee replacement patients indicates that despite treatment with blood thinners prior to and immediately following joint replacement surgery, the risk of clot formation is still relatively high in certain patients.

New research identifies GP and parental reluctance to address childhood obesity
One in five 11-year-old children is currently defined as obese, and the country faces a potentially huge burden of increased obesity-associated morbidity and early mortality.

Signal explains why site of origin affects fate of postnatal neural stem cells
New research may help to explain why the location of postnatal neural stem cells in the brain determines the type of new neurons that are generated.

Bionic microrobot mimics the 'water strider' and walks on water
Scientists are reporting development of a new aquatic microrobot that mimics the amazing water-walking abilities of the water strider -- the long-legged insect that scoots across the surface of ponds, lakes and other waterways.

Carsey Institute: Families shifting from private to public health insurance for children
Families are increasingly relying on public health insurance plans to provide coverage for their children, a growing trend that researchers say is tied to job losses, coverage changes to private health insurance plans, and expanded access to public plans, according to new research from the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire.

Common Korean surname tells tale of nationhood
The most common surname in Korea -- Kim -- has been traced back 1,500 years using a statistical model, providing evidence of a strong, stable culture that has remained intact to this day.

NASA's iPad app beams science straight to users
NASA satellites beam data from space; now the Agency is beaming it straight to your iPad.

Researchers work to take the pressure off newborns' lungs
Children born with heart defects that pummel their lungs with up to three times the normal blood volume quickly find their lungs in jeopardy as well.

Social media poised to drive disaster preparedness and response
Social media tools like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare may be an important key to improving the public health system's ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters, according to a New England Journal of Medicine

Treatment provides dramatic survival benefit for hard-to-match kidney transplant patients
Hard-to-match kidney transplant candidates who receive a treatment designed to make their bodies more accepting of incompatible organs are twice as likely to survive eight years after transplant surgery as those who stay on dialysis for years awaiting compatible organs, new Johns Hopkins research finds.

Pigment discovery expanding into new colors
Chemists at Oregon State University have discovered that the same crystal structure they identified two years ago to create what may be the world's best blue pigment can also be used with different elements to create other colors, with significant potential in the paint and pigment industries.

Study suggests weight loss from gastric bypass may be partly due to dietary fat aversion
Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, the most common type of bariatric surgery in the United States, is currently considered the most effective therapy for morbid obesity.

Teacher influence persists in early grades
Having consistently good teachers in elementary school appears to be as important for student achievement as small class sizes, according to new research by a Michigan State University education scholar.

Unexpected discovery on hormone secretion
A team of geneticists at the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montreal, directed by Dr.

How early reptiles moved
The University Jena and the Foundation Schloss Friedenstein Gotha now start a joint research project.

Women who leave the workplace: Opting out or overlooking discrimination?
For the first time in history, the majority of Americans believe that women's job opportunities are equal to men's.

CT shows changes in lungs associated with COPD flare-ups
Using computed tomography, researchers have identified two types of structural changes in the lungs of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that are associated with frequent exacerbations, or episodes when symptoms suddenly worsen.

The first true view of global erosion
Two Vermont geologists have created the first-ever standardized view of pre-human erosion rates for the whole planet.

Largest recorded tundra fire yields scientific surprises
In 2007 the largest recorded tundra fire in the circumpolar arctic released approximately as much carbon into the atmosphere as the tundra has stored in the previous 50 years, say scientists in the July 28 issue of the journal Nature.

Electronic publishing 'goes live': News from the International Botanical Congress in Melbourne
The International Botanical Congress in Melbourne approved changes to the way scientists name new plants, algae, and fungi.

Researchers map long-range migrations and habitats of leatherback sea turtles in the Pacific Ocean
Endangered leatherback sea turtles migrate and forage across vast areas of the Pacific Ocean and Indo-Pacific seas and require greater international collaboration for their protection, according to a recent study conducted by NOAA Fisheries Service and western Pacific research and conservation scientists.

Aging brains are different in humans and chimpanzees
Brains shrink in humans, potentially causing a number of health problems and mental illnesses as people age, but do they shrink to the same extent in the closest living relatives to humans -- the chimpanzees?

New imaging technique captures brain activity in patients with chronic low back pain
Research from Brigham and Women's Hospital uses a new imaging technique, arterial spin labeling, to show the areas of the brain that are activated when patients with low back pain have a worsening of their usual, chronic pain.

Social acumen equals spatial skill, psychologist finds
People who are socially skilled -- who are adept at metaphorically putting themselves in someone else's shoes -- generally are also more proficient when it comes to spatial skills.

UF study shows tundra fires could accelerate climate warming
After a 10,000-year absence, wildfires have returned to the Arctic tundra, and a University of Florida study shows that their impact could extend far beyond the areas blackened by flames.

Material created at Purdue lets electrons 'dance' and form new state
A team of researchers is among a small group in the world that has successfully created ultrapure material that captures new states of matter and could have applications in high-speed quantum computing.

Who takes risks?
It's a common belief that women take fewer risks than men, and that adolescents always plunge in headlong without considering the consequences.

BGI reports rapid open-source genomic analyses accelerated global studies on deadly E. coli O104:H4
BGI, the world's largest genomic organization in the world, today announced that the study on Genomic Analysis of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli O104:H4, conducted by BGI and its collaborators, was published online today in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Cows clock-in for monitored mealtimes
Electronic ear tags are being trialled by scientists at Newcastle University in a bid to provide farmers with an extra line of defense against diseases such as Foot and Mouth and TB.

Researchers identify mechanism underlying COPD disease persistence after smoking cessation
Cigarette smoke exposure fundamentally alters airway tissue from people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at the cellular level, laying the groundwork for airway thickening and even precipitating precancerous changes in cell proliferation that may be self-perpetuating long after cigarette smoke exposure ends, according to Australian researchers.

Refocusing the boom in biomarker research
An article in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS's weekly news magazine, describes the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of one of the hottest pursuits in modern biomedical science -- the search for

Illuminating life: How RNA, after a century in the shadows, emerged into the spotlight
In a new book,

Conference: Improving K-12 education with cutting-edge cognitive neuroscience research
The New York Academy of Sciences and the Aspen Brain Forum Foundation will present a landmark conference on Sept.

Yale researchers show how memory is lost -- and found
A new study published July 27 in the journal Nature shows the neural networks in the brains of the middle-aged and elderly have weaker connections and fire less robustly than in youthful ones, Intriguingly, the research suggests that this condition is reversible.

First measurements of HAAs in urine of swimmers and pool workers
The first scientific measurements in humans show that potentially harmful haloacetic acids (HAAs) appear in the urine of swimmers within 30 minutes after exposure to chlorinated water where HAAs form as a byproduct of that water disinfection method.

Short-term use of amphetamines can improve ADHD symptoms in adults
Giving amphetamines to adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can help them control their symptoms, but the side effects mean that some people do not manage to take them for very long.

Breast density tied to specific types of breast cancer
Women with breasts that appear dense on mammograms are at a higher risk of breast cancer and their tumors are more likely to have certain aggressive characteristics than women with less dense breasts, according to a study published online July 27 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Gene gives clues to self-injurious behavior in rare disorder
In humans, inherited mutations in a gene called HPRT1 lead to very specific self-destructive behavior.

A closer look at cells
Many substances and nutrients are exchanged across the cell membrane.

Deconstructing the morals of child and adolescent literature
Researcher Garbine Salaberria analyzed how moral and narrative aspects of children's and adolescents' literature interact, for which she studied a corpus of compulsory readers from both primary school level (second and third cycles) as well as secondary.

Researchers aim for 'direct brain control' of prosthetic arms
Engineering researchers at Rice University, the University of Michigan, Drexel University and the University of Maryland have begun designing a prosthetic arm that amputees can control directly with their brains and that will allow them to feel what they touch.

Brandeis lab's artificial cilia spur new thinking in nanotechnology
Cilia, tiny hair-like structures that perform feats such as clearing microscopic debris from the lungs and determining the correct location of organs during development, move in mysterious ways.

Graphene nanocomposite a bridge to better batteries
Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have built a high-capacity energy storage device for lithium ion batteries by constructing a unique nanoscale sandwich of graphene and tin.

Carnegie Mellon develops iPhone app that predicts when bus will arrive
Tiramisu, a new iPhone application developed at Carnegie Mellon University, enables transit riders in Pittsburgh to use their iPhones to signal the location and occupancy level of the Port Authority of Allegheny County bus they are riding, in real-time.

Fair play -- a question of self-image?
Max Planck researchers explain the conditions under which people are prepared to behave fairly.

J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., will receive Pitt's Dickson Prize at Science 2011: Next Gen
J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., the scientist-entrepreneur who led efforts to map the first draft of the human genome as well as the complete diploid genome and to construct the first synthetic bacterium, is this year's recipient of the University of Pittsburgh's Dickson Prize in Medicine.

Could patients' own kidney cells cure kidney disease?
Approximately 60 million people across the globe have chronic kidney disease, and many will need dialysis or a transplant.

Growing up on livestock farm linked to increased risk of blood cancers
Growing up on a livestock farm seems to be linked to an increased risk of developing blood cancers as an adult, indicates research published online in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

NASA measures heavy rain in Tropical Storm Nock-Ten over Philippines
NASA satellite data has shown that Tropical Storm Nock-ten has been a big rainmaker across the Philippines for the last two days and is now tracking into the South China Sea.

Census of Marine Life Scientific Steering Committee awarded 2011 International Cosmos Prize
The Scientific Steering Committee of the Census of Marine Life is the 2011 recipient of the international Cosmos Prize, an annual award presented by the Expo '90 Foundation.

Non-cocaine, topical anaesthetics can kill pain when repairing skin wounds
While some pain killers need to be injected into the damaged tissue in order to work, topical anesthetics only need to be spread on the surface.

Stevens professor E.H. Yang receives DURIP grant to support nanoscale imaging
Dr. Yang's AFOSR-sponsored DURIP grant allows him to purchase a scanning probe microscope capable of imaging in ambient conditions.

UM School of Medicine Institute for Genome Sciences cracks code of German E. Coli outbreak
A team led by University of Maryland School of Medicine Institute for Genome Sciences researchers has unraveled the genomic code of the E. coli bacterium that caused a deadly outbreak in Germany that began in May 2011.

New X-ray camera will reveal big secrets about how chemistry works
Designed to record bursts of images at an unprecedented speed of 4.5 million frames per second, an innovative X-ray camera being built with STFC's world-class engineering expertise will help a major new research facility shed light on the structure of matter.

Pacific Biosciences DNA sequencing technology yields new insights into German E. coli pathogen
An international team of scientists has successfully employed single molecule, real-time (SMRT) DNA sequencing technology from Pacific Biosciences of California Inc. to provide valuable insights into the pathogenicity and evolutionary origins of the highly virulent bacterium responsible for the German E. coli outbreak.

Popular mammography tool not effective for finding invasive breast cancer
Computer-aided detection technology is ineffective in finding breast tumors, and appears to increase a woman's risk of being called back needlessly for additional testing following mammography, a large UC Davis study has found.

Computer-aided detection does not improve mammogram accuracy
Using computer-aided detection software to help analyze and interpret mammograms does not improve accuracy, according to a study published online July 27 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Gastric bypass surgery changes food preferences
Gastric bypass surgery alters people's food preferences so that they eat less high-fat food, according to a new study led by scientists at Imperial College London.

Johns Hopkins researchers discover how some breast cancers alter their sensitivity to estrogen
Using human breast cancer cells and the protein that causes fireflies to glow, a Johns Hopkins team has shed light on why some breast cancer cells become resistant to the anticancer effects of the drug tamoxifen.

VST looks at the Leo Triplet -- and beyond
A huge image, from the new VLT Survey Telescope (VST) and its camera OmegaCAM at ESO's Paranal Observatory, shows a triplet of bright galaxies in the constellation of Leo (the Lion).

Big gap exists on health care spending between Latinos and whites, study finds
New research out of UCLA has found that foreign-born Latinos living in the United States are much less likely to spend for health care and when they do are more likely to pay out-of-pocket for heath care when compared with the white population, but, over time, that disparity shrinks for naturalized Latinos the longer they stay in the country.

NIH researchers identify gene variant in Proteus syndrome
A team of researchers has identified the genetic mutation that causes Proteus syndrome, a rare disorder in which tissue and bone grows massively out of proportion.

University of Nevada, Reno, scientists to shake 5-story building in Japan
Landmark earthquake engineering tests this summer in Japan by the University of Nevada, Reno could open the door for earthquake-proofing technology applied to hospitals, nuclear power plants and emergency-response facilities to be more common in the United States, and confirm the capabilities for the technology used in Japan and the rest of the world.

Reservoirs of ancient lava shaped Earth
Geological history has periodically featured giant lava eruptions that coat large swaths of land or ocean floor with basaltic lava, which hardens into rock formations called flood basalt.

Pearl-flowered legume a surprise new find in the Cape Snowy Mountains, South Africa
A pearl-flowered legume collected in 2005 by Ralph Clark and Nigel Barker (Rhodes University) in the Sneeuberg, South Africa, was determined by taxonomists Charles Stirtonand Muthama Muasya (University of Cape Town) to be a distinct new species.

Home is where the healthy meal is
Can a cozy dining table and nice music prompt people to reach for the greens and go light on dessert?

SomaLogic and New England Biolabs announce agreement to use SOMAmers for multiple PCR products
SomaLogic Inc. and New England Biolabs Inc. announce today that they have entered into an exclusive licensing agreement whereby SomaLogic will provide specific SOMAmers as critical and unique reagents in several current and future NEB nucleic acid amplification and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) products.

Organized crime is wiping out wildlife
A paper by noted WCS conservationist Elizabeth Bennett says that an immense, increasingly sophisticated illegal trade in wildlife parts conducted by organized crime, coupled with antiquated enforcement methods, are decimating the world's most beloved species including rhinos, tigers and elephants on a scale never before seen.

The end is in sight for amphibian fungal disease
Over the past 30 years, around 200 species of amphibians have disappeared due to chytridiomycosis, a fungal infection.

Wave power can drive sun's intense heat
A new study sheds light on why the sun's outer atmosphere, or corona, is more than 20 times hotter than its surface.

Children and adolescent mobile phone users at no greater risk of brain cancer than non-users
Children and adolescents who use mobile phones are not at a statistically significant increased risk of brain cancer compared to their peers who do not use mobile phones, according to a study published July 27 in the Journal of The National Cancer Institute.

British Academy and Wiley-Blackwell announce result of 2011 Wiley Prize
American developmental psychologist, Dr. Michael Tomasello, has been named as this year's recipient of the Wiley Prize in Psychology, awarded by the British Academy in partnership with Wiley-Blackwell, the scientific, technical, medical and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons Inc.
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