Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 28, 2011
NIH awards WSU researcher $1.7 million to study non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Kezhong Zhang, Ph.D., assistant professor of molecular medicine and genetics and of immunology and microbiology in the School of Medicine at Wayne State University, was awarded $1.7 million by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health to explore how molecular elements in the body regulate the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

An unexpected clue to thermopower efficiency
Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and their colleagues at the University of California and Nanjing University have discovered a new relation among electric and magnetic fields and differences in temperature, which can result in swirling vortices of electrons and holes in semiconductor devices and emit sideways magnetic fields.

NASA identifies the areas of Tropical Storm Muifa's strength
The strongest thunderstorms that make up tropical storm Muifa are on the storm's eastern and southern sides, according to infrared imagery from NASA's Aqua satellite.

Gladstone scientist converts human skin cells into functional brain cells
A scientist at the Gladstone Institutes has discovered a novel way to convert human skin cells into brain cells, advancing medicine and human health by offering new hope for regenerative medicine and personalized drug discovery and development.

Bjorn Engquist receives Peter Henrici Prize at ICIAM 2011
Professor Bjorn Engquist from the University of Texas at Austin is the 2011 recipient of the Peter Henrici Prize.

Rainforest plant developed sonar dish to attract pollinating bats
How plants sound as well as how they look helps them to attract pollinators, a new study by scientists at the University of Bristol, UK, and the Universities of Erlangen and Ulm, Germany has found.

New study outlines economic and environmental benefits to reducing nitrogen pollution
A new study co-authored by Columbia Engineering professor Kartik Chandran and recently published in the journal, Environmental Science & Technology, shows that reducing nitrogen pollution generated by wastewater treatment plants can come with

Use of citrus and cereal subproducts to create new food products and feed for aquaculture
AZTI-Tecnalia, the technological center specialized in marine and food research, is carrying out research into exploiting by-products derived from the processing of citrus fruits and from wheat in order to create new food products and feed for aquaculture.

Traumatic brain injury linked with tenfold increase in stroke risk
Suffering a trauma to the brain may increase the risk of stroke tenfold within three months.

NASA eyes Tropical Storm Nock-Ten's heavy rains for Hainan Island and Vietnam
Infrared satellite imagery from NASA's Aqua satellite shows bands of strong thunderstorms wrapping around the center of Tropical Storm Nock-Ten as it makes its way through the South China Sea and two landfalls on Hainan Island and in Vietnam.

NEON receives construction funding from NSF, slated to begin building fall 2011
The National Science Foundation will fund the $434 million construction of the observatory, starting with $18 million in FY 2011.

Springer acquires Asia Europe Journal
The Asia-Europe Foundation has sold the Asia Europe Journal and transferred the copyright to its long-time partner Springer.

Science honors online microscope project with 'SPORE' award
An online project that puts access to an extremely powerful electron microscope into the hands of students all over the country has been selected by the journal Science to win the Science Prize for Online Resources in Education (SPORE) award.

The role of relaxation in consumer behavior
A study finds that states of relaxation consistently increase the monetary valuations of products, actually inflating these valuations by about 10 percent.

Genetic evidence clears Ben Franklin
The DNA evidence is in, and Ben Franklin didn't do it.

Convergence in head and neck cancer
Using powerful new technologies, researchers have confirmed genetic abnormalities previously suspected in head and neck cancer, including defects in the tumor suppressor gene known as p53.

NASA measures wildfire pollution pour over Niagara Falls
Water isn't the only thing pouring over Niagara Falls. Pollution from fires in Ontario, Canada is also making the one thousand mile trip, while being measured by NASA's Aqua satellite.

Mannan oligosaccharides offer health benefits to pigs
Feeding mannan oligosaccharides can fine-tune the immune system of pigs, suggests a new University of Illinois study.

Oral interferon may prevent and control avian influenza virus infection
Avian influenza virus is a threat to the commercial chicken industry and, with its recent rapid spread across China, has also shown the ability for transmission from chickens to humans and other mammals.

Plant immunity discovery boosts chances of disease-resistant crops
Researchers have opened up the black box of plant immune system genetics, boosting our ability to produce disease- and pest-resistant crops in the future.

Gout prevalence swells in US over last 2 decades
A new study shows the prevalence of gout in the US has risen over the last twenty years and now affects 8.3 million Americans.

Scientists map attack tactics of plant pathogens
Every year, plant diseases wipe out millions of tons of crops, lead to the waste of valuable water resources and cause farmers to spend tens of billions of dollars battling them.

David E. Keyes receives SIAM Prize for Distinguished Service to the Profession
Professor David E. Keyes of Columbia University and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia has been awarded the SIAM Prize for Distinguished Service to the Profession.

Sea level rise less from Greenland, more from Antarctica, than expected during last interglacial
University of Wisconsin-Madison geoscience assistant professor Anders Carlson's new results, published July 29 in Science, are revealing surprising patterns of melting during the last interglacial period that suggest that Greenland's ice may be more stable -- and Antarctica's less stable -- than many thought.

New model predicts environmental effect of pharmaceutical products
Most synthetic chemical products used in consumer goods end up unchanged in the environment.

NTU unveils new center to develop solar cells and clean energy systems of tomorrow
Nanyang Technological University announced that it is investing close to $3 million over three years to set up a new research center that will pioneer the development of solar cells of the future, as well as the expertise to harness these new clean energy sources effectively and in commercially viable ways.

The brain's connectome -- from branch to branch
Max Planck scientists develop new analytical tools for the fast and accurate reconstruction of neural networks.

Israeli high-tech is improving US education
Dovi Weiss of Tel Aviv University has developed a teaching platform that integrates technology, a digital curriculum, real-time class participation, and teacher empowerment -- and early results indicate that it's re-energizing education for children and teachers alike.

Rate of stroke increasing among women during, soon after pregnancy
Researchers report a large increase in the number of women having strokes while pregnant and in the three months after childbirth.

Humabs discovers the first antibody to neutralize both group 1 and group 2 influenza A viruses
A paper published today in the scientific research journal Science, describes a novel, proprietary monoclonal antibody (FI6) discovered in a collaboration between Humabs BioMed SA, the Institute for Research in Biomedicine and the UK Medical Research Council.

Lawson researchers take control of cancer
In a new study released today in Laboratory Investigation, Dr.

WHOI announces 2011 Ocean Science Journalism Fellows
Ten writers and multimedia science journalists from the US, Canada, France, Great Britain and South Korea have been selected to participate in the competitive Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Ocean Science Journalism Fellowship program.

A gene discovery in truffle dogs sheds new light on the mechanisms of childhood epilepsy
The gene discovery made by professor Hannes Lohi and his research group at the University of Helsinki and the Folkhälsan Research Center offers a new candidate gene for human benign childhood epilepsy characterized by seizure remission.

Warming climate could give exotic grasses edge over natives
With rising temperatures and decreasing rainfall, California's native grasses will likely suffer at the hands of exotic invasive grasses, which are more equipped to deal with warmer weather.

Southampton engineers fly the world's first 'printed' aircraft
Engineers at the University of Southampton have designed and flown the world's first

Education -- a key determinant of population growth and human well-being
Future trends in global population growth could be significantly affected by improvements in both the quality and quantity of education, particularly female education.

Study shows bone fluoride levels not associated with osteosarcoma
The International and American Associations for Dental Research have released in its Journal of Dental Research a study that investigated bone fluoride levels in individuals with osteosarcoma, which is a rare, primary malignant bone tumor that is more prevalent in males.

Antioxidants of growing interest to address infertility, erectile dysfunction
A growing body of evidence suggests that antioxidants may have significant value in addressing infertility issues in both women and men, including erectile dysfunction, and researchers say that large, specific clinical studies are merited to determine how much they could help.

Research finds veterinary medicine students experience higher depression levels than peers
Veterinary medicine students are more likely to struggle with depression than human medicine students, undergraduate students and the general population, according to several recent collaborative studies from Kansas State University researchers.

Pew calls on Congress to ensure US drug safety
Allan Coukell, director of medical programs for the Pew Health Group, issued the following statement today on a US Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing,

A heart-rate-reducing medication reduces the risk of heart failure and cardiac fibrosis
The findings of a Montreal Heart Institute study published in the scientific journal Cardiology suggest that ivabradine, a heart rate reduction medication, is also effective in reducing the risk of diastolic heart failure (left ventricular insufficiency) and cardiac fibrosis.

PATH B -- a comprehensive support program for patients diagnosed with chronic hepatitis B
The European Liver Patients Association and the World Hepatitis Alliance announced today on the 4th annual World Hepatitis Day that

UC Riverside chemists transform acids into bases
University of California, Riverside, chemists have accomplished in the lab what until now was considered impossible: transform a family of compounds which are acids into bases.

Breast screening has had little to do with falling breast cancer deaths
Breast cancer screening has not played a direct part in the reductions of breast cancer mortality in recent years, says a new study published on today.

More illness, doctor visits reported in years after Sept. 11, UCI study finds
The events of Sept. 11, 2001, changed the way Americans travel and view the world.

SOHO watches a comet fading away
On Nov. 4, 2010, NASA's EPOXI spacecraft came within 450 miles of Comet Hartley 2, a small comet not even a mile in diameter, which takes about six and a half years to orbit the sun.

12 scientists named ASBMB award winners
The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in July named 12 scientists the winners of its annual awards.

Progressive telomere shortening characterizes familial breast cancer patients
Telomeres of peripheral blood cells are significantly shorter in patients with familial breast cancer than in the general population.

WU studies obesity, cancer link with $9.2 million grant
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have been awarded a $9.2 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to study the relationship between obesity and cancer.

$3 million grant to aid minorities with uncontrolled diabetes
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago's Institute for Health Research and Policy and College of Medicine have received a $3 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to improve diabetes management in minority patients.

European ALMA antenna brings total on Chajnantor to 16
The first European antenna for the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has reached new heights, having been transported to the observatory's Array Operations Site (AOS) on July 27, 2011.

Tiny flying machines inspired by nature will revolutionize surveillance work
Tiny aerial vehicles are being developed with innovative flapping wings based on those of real-life insects.

Bacterial resistance to antibiotics: The more they resist, the more they divide
a research team at the Portuguese CBA research (University of Lisbon) and the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência has shown that, surprisingly, when both mechanisms of resistance are playing out in the bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli), its ability to survive and reproduce is increased.

Research reveals why hedge funds are an unlikely large source of systemic risk
Study finds that hedge funds are moderately leveraged, leverage is counter-cyclical to the leverage of banks and the finance sector, and hedge fund leverage was at its lowest during the financial crisis in 2008.

Colugos glide to save time, not energy
Everyone has always assumed that animals glide to save energy, but when Greg Byrnes, Andrew Spence and colleagues from the University of California attached acclerometer/radio transmitter back packs to colugos in the Singapore rainforest, they discovered that colugos use 1.5 times more energy gliding than they use scampering over the same distance.

Prisoners need greater awareness of voluntary services, says research
New research from the Third Sector Research Centre highlights the need to make prisoners more aware of voluntary organizations that could help them towards resettlement.

New global health delivery curricula
Today, the Global Health Delivery Project and Harvard Business Publishing released 21 teaching case studies examining the principles of health-care delivery in resource-poor settings.

Endorsements matter but voters are wise to media bias
In a new paper, economist Brian Knight investigates the effect of newspaper endorsements on voter decision making and finds that they are, in fact, influential.

The 2011 W. T. and Idalia Reid Prize awarded to Irena Lasiecka
Professor Irena Lasiecka of the University of Virginia is the 2011 recipient of the W.

'The Ecology and Conservation of Seasonally Dry Forests in Asia'
Despite the importance of seasonally dry forests, little is known of their ecology.

Electronic tongue identifies cava wines
Researchers at Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona have developed an electronic tongue which can identify different types of cava wines, thanks to a combination of sensor systems and advanced mathematical procedures.

Researchers target, switch off serotonin-producing neurons in mice
Researchers have developed a toolkit that enables them to turn off targeted cell populations while leaving others unaffected.

Permeon reveals discovery of Intraphilins as new approach to intracellular biologic drugs
Permeon Biologics, a biopharmaceutical company pioneering a novel class of intracellular protein biologics, today announced the discovery of an entirely new class of naturally occurring human supercharged proteins called Intraphilins.

U researchers look to dogs to better understand intricacies of bone cancer
A team led by Dr. Jaime Modiano, a College of Veterinary Medicine and Masonic Cancer center expert in comparative medicine, discovered a gene pattern that distinguishes the more severe form of bone cancer from a less aggressive form in dogs.

Restoring happiness in people with depression
Practicing positive activities may serve as an effective, low-cost treatment for people suffering from depression, according to researchers at the University of California, Riverside, and Duke University Medical Center.

Trade practices key in deciding a trade's moral legitimacy
How goods are traded, not just what is traded, is a principal consideration when deciding the legitimacy of a particular industry, according to a study recently published in Administrative Science Quarterly, a SAGE journal.

Caltech researchers increase the potency of HIV-battling proteins
When it comes to a small HIV-fighting protein, called cyanovirin-N, Caltech researchers have found that two are better than one.

NTU to host global center studying pan-Asian consumer behavior
A new research center at Nanyang Technological University will give vital insights into Asian consumers and establish Singapore as a pan-Asian consumer research hub.

Fructose consumption increases risk factors for heart disease
A recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that adults who consumed high fructose corn syrup for two weeks as 25 percent of their daily calorie requirement had increased blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, which have been shown to be indicators of increased risk for heart disease.

Getting 50-year-old Americans as healthy as Europeans could save Medicare and Medicaid $632 billion by 2050
A study in the July 2011 issue of Social Science & Medicine is the first to calculate the fiscal consequences of the growing life expectancy gap over the next few decades.

Fadang photo makes the cover of major botanical journal
Researchers answer critical questions regarding cycad reproduction on Guam.

Packing on pounds riskier for South Asians, say McMaster researchers
A new study by researchers at McMaster University has found that some ethnic groups are more likely to be adding dangerous fat onto their internal organs like their liver when they gain weight, while others just add it to their waistline.

World population to surpass 7 billion in 2011
Global population is expected to hit 7 billion later this year, up from 6 billion in 1999.

In the pursuit of dangerous clumps
When normal proteins form protein clumps in the body, then alarm bells start ringing.

Australia vs. big tobacco: Battle lines are drawn on plain packaging
Australia is planning to implement plain packaging for all brands of cigarettes during 2012, and recently introduced a bill to its parliament.

Scientists take a giant step for people -- with plants!
Salk Institute and Dana Farber Cancer Institute researchers contribute to the production of largest-ever map of plant protein interactions.

'Mirroring' might reflect badly on you
The benefits of body-language mimicry have been confirmed by numerous psychological studies.

1st large-scale map of a plant's protein network addresses evolution, disease process
The first large-scale map of protein networks in a plant addresses longstanding questions about evolution, illuminates disease processes in plants.

Ralph E. Kleinman Prize awarded to Gunther Uhlmann
Professor Gunther Uhlmann of the University of California, Irvine and the University of Washington was awarded the 2011 Ralph E.

TGen provides scientific launch pad for Helios Scholars
Tomorrow's leaders in science and medicine graduate Friday from the biomedical summer internship program at the Translational Genomics Research Institute.

BUSM professor honored with Excellence and Innovation in Education and Training Award
Kermit A. Crawford, Ph.D., a clinical associate professor of psychiatry and director of the Center for Multicultural Mental Health at Boston University School of Medicine, has been selected as the recipient of the 2011 Award for Excellence in Diversity Training by the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers.

GOES-13 satellite movie shows formation of Tropical Storm Don
Tropical Storm Don appears to be a small storm on GOES-13 satellite imagery.

Hutchinson Center receives $8.2M to coordinate obesity and cancer consortium
The National Cancer Institute has awarded $8.2 million over the next five years to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to extend its role as the coordinating hub of a nationwide research consortium that aims to better understand the link between obesity and cancer.

Mitochondrial genome mutates when reprogrammed
Max Planck researchers encounter genetic changes in the genome of the cellular power plants of human induced pluripotent stem cells.

Geographic analysis offers new insight into coral disease spread
In the last 30 years, more than 90 percent of the reef-building coral responsible for maintaining major marine habitats and providing a natural barrier against hurricanes in the Caribbean has disappeared because of a disease of unknown origin.

Ongoing global biodiversity loss unstoppable with protected areas alone: Study
Continued reliance on a strategy of setting aside land and marine territories as

Scientists report dramatic carbon loss from massive Arctic wildfire
In a study published in this week's issue of Nature, Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) senior scientist Gauis Shaver and his colleagues, including lead author Michelle Mack of the University of Florida, describe the dramatic impacts of a massive Arctic wildfire on carbon releases to the atmosphere.

Multiscale approaches for process innovation
Materials Design announces that it will sponsor the international conference on Multiscale Approaches for Process Innovation, which will be held in Lyon, France, from Jan.

UT Southwestern support group's book reaches out to husbands, partners of women battling cancer
A UT Southwestern Medical Center men's support group is intent on filling that gap through its recently published book, Stages, which shares stories of members whose wives battled cancer.

Toucans wearing GPS backpacks help Smithsonian scientists study seed dispersal
Nutmeg-loving toucans wearing GPS transmitters recently helped a team of scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama address an age-old problem in plant ecology: accurately estimating seed dispersal.

How bats stay on target despite the clutter
Neuroscientists at Brown University have learned how bats can remain on target despite obstacles.

European Bioinformatics Institute to lead UK PubMed Central in 2011-2016
The European Molecular Biology Laboratory's European Bioinformatics Institute has been awarded the contract to run and lead the development of UK PubMed Central, the free online literature resource for life science researchers.

Study: Iraq must overcome logistical, political challenges to become oil leader
Iraq's large oil-production potential could put it in a position to vie for leadership with Saudi Arabia in the world oil scene in the coming decades.

ADA president Raymond Gist, D.D.S., comments on Harvard study examining fluoride levels in bone
A new study in the Journal of Dental Research finds bone fluoride levels are not associated with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer more prevalent in males.

Researchers develop mouse with 'off switch' in key brain cell population
NIH-funded scientists have developed a strain of mice with a built-in off switch that can selectively shut down the animals' serotonin-producing cells, which make up a brain network controlling breathing, temperature regulation and mood.

Cell biologists hail stem cell decision
The American Society for Cell Biology applauds the decision of Judge Royce Lamberth of the US District Court for the District of Columbia (DC) to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the National Institutes of Health guidelines on funding human embryonic stem cell research.

Laws that encourage healthier lifestyles protect lives and save the NHS money
The introduction of legislation that restricts unhealthy food, for example by reducing salt content and eliminating industrial trans fats, would prevent thousands of cases of heart disease in England and Wales and save the NHS millions of pounds, finds research published on today.

Put the brakes on using your brain power
German researchers have used drivers' brain signals, for the first time, to assist in braking, providing much quicker reaction times and a potential solution to the thousands of car accidents that are caused by human error.

Elusive prey
New research by scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School published this week in Current Biology offers evidence that for the first time illuminates a biological and ecological path that links genes to molecule to neural circuit to behavior to environment.

Male circumcision lowers prevalence of penile precancerous lesions among African men
A University of North Carolina-led international study shows that among Kenyan men, circumcision is associated with a lower prevalence of human papillomavirus-associated precancerous lesions of the penis.

5 years of tamoxifen improves 15-year survival by about a third in women with most common type of breast cancer
In women with hormone-sensitive breast cancer (ie, oestrogen-receptor (ER) positive breast cancer), further benefits of adjuvant tamoxifen continue to accrue for at least 10 years after women stop taking the drug, according to an article published online first in the Lancet.

Ingrid Daubechies of Duke University awarded the John von Neumann Lecture Prize at ICIAM 2011
Professor Ingrid Daubechies of Duke University gave The John von Neumann Lecture on Monday, July 18, at the 7th International Congress on Industrial and Applied Mathematics held last week in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Increased muscle mass may lower risk of pre-diabetes
A recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM) found that the greater an individual's total muscle mass, the lower the person's risk of having insulin resistance, the major precursor of type 2 diabetes.

Strength in numbers
New research sheds light on why, after 300,000 years of domination, European Neanderthals abruptly disappeared.

Breakthrough lights way for RNA discoveries
The ability to tag proteins with a green fluorescent light to watch how they behave inside cells so revolutionized the understanding of protein biology that it earned the scientific teams who developed the technique Nobel Prizes in 2008.

Researchers tap yeasts as source of 'green' surfactants
Surfactants, which are wetting agents that lower a liquid's surface tension, have a long list of uses, from detergents and cosmetics to paints and pesticides. 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