Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 03, 2011
AMIA questions HHS' proposed HIPAA rule
AMIA, the association for informatics professionals in biomedicine and health care, expressed its concerns to the US Department of Health and Human Services about a proposed rule that would modify the HIPAA Privacy Rules for accounting of disclosures.

Scientists pinpoint river flow associated with cholera outbreaks, not just global warming
An examination of the world's largest river basins found nutrient-rich and powerful river discharges led to spikes in the blooms of plankton associated with cholera outbreaks.

Raptor usurpers in neighboring habitats reshape the conventional wisdom
Guilad Friedemann of Tel Aviv University says that displaced indigenous species migrate to neighboring habitats that had not been included in environmental assessments, having a significant impact on the species and resources already there.

Researchers create umpire schedule for MLB
Scheduling umpire crews in Major League Baseball can be a daunting task.

100-year-old model of the atom to be celebrated
A series of public lectures taking place next week will look at the legacy of Rutherford's discovery and give citizens of Manchester the chance to join nuclear physicists from around the world in celebrating his 100-year-old model of the atom.

University of Miami scientists find way to identify manmade biofuels in atmosphere
Chemists at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science have discovered a technique to track urban atmospheric plumes thanks to a unique isotopic signature found in vehicle emissions.

UCLA life scientists' study of abalone yields new insights into sexual reproduction
In new research that could have implications for increasing fertilization in humans and other mammals, life scientists have studied interactions between individual sperm and individual eggs in the natural habitats of abalone -- a large marine snail -- and made precise chemical measurements and developed physical models of these interactions.

Aggressive drug therapy aids superbug evolution
New research raises troubling concerns about the use of aggressive drug therapies to treat a wide range of diseases such as MRSA, C. difficile, malaria and even cancer.

51st Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
News media registration for the annual infectious diseases meeting of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) is now open.

UI biologist finds one species of pathogen can produce two distinct biofilms
Many medical devices, ranging from artificial hip joints to dentures and catheters, become sites for unwelcome guests -- complex communities of microbial pathogens called biofilms that are resistant to the human immune system and antibiotics, thus proving a serious threat to human health.

An advance toward an 'electronic nose' urine test for TB
Scientists are reporting an advance toward a fast, inexpensive urine test to detect and monitor the effectiveness of treatment for tuberculosis, which is on a rampage in the developing world.

Mayo Clinic finds new bacterium causing tick-borne illness ehrlichiosis in Wis., Minn.
A new tick-borne bacterium infecting humans with ehrlichiosis has been discovered in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Carbon hitches a ride from field to market
New research that tracked carbon's movement in US crop production found that regional carbon sinks and sources are created because agricultural crops are consumed far away from where they're grown.

EU $220 million grant supports Mayo-Czech research using 'space station' approach
Mayo Clinic will receive $10 million in research funding from the European Union as part of a $220 million grant to its collaborator, the St.

23andMe launches myeloproliferative neoplasms research initiative
23andMe, Inc. is recruiting 1000 individuals with Myeloproliferative eoplasms (MPN) rare blood cancers.

Web search is ready for a shakeup, says UW computer scientist
On the 20-year anniversary of the World Wide Web, computer scientist Oren Etzioni has published a two-page commentary in the journal Nature that calls on the international academic and industry communities to take a bolder approach when designing how people find information online.

Progress made in understanding breast cancer risk
A woman's ethnicity as well as her genetic makeup are two of the main risk factors for hereditary breast cancer.

Stanford study identifies potential anti-cancer therapy that starves cancer cells of glucose
Stanford University School of Medicine researchers have identified a compound that attacks the Achilles' heel of certain cancer cells by depriving them of their energy source, the sugar glucose.

NIST finds that ethanol-loving bacteria accelerate cracking of pipeline steels
US production of ethanol for fuel has been rising quickly.

Combination of existing safety checks could greatly reduce radiotherapy errors
A combination of several well-known safety procedures could greatly reduce patient-harming errors in the use of radiation to treat cancer, according to a new study led by Johns Hopkins researchers.

Ferraro to receive GSA's 2011 Distinguished Mentorship in Gerontology Award
The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) -- the nation's largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging -- has chosen Kenneth Ferraro, PhD, of Purdue University as the 2011 recipient of the Distinguished Mentorship in Gerontology Award.

How to manage turfgrass while conserving water
Water, an increasingly critical resource in the world, factors prominently in turfgrass research.

'Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine' comes to the app store
Content from the widely respected cardiology reference book's forthcoming ninth edition now available to users on iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.

NSF grant launches center for synthesizing environmental and related research results
To help identify solutions for today's most pressing environmental challenges, the National Science Foundation recently funded a national synthesis center in Annapolis, Md., through a $27.5 million award to the University of Maryland.

Johns Hopkins scientists begin first-of-its-kind research to create blood platelets from stem cells
Johns Hopkins scientists have launched a pioneering research program to create, for the first time, human platelet cells from stem cells in order to study inherited blood clotting abnormalities ranging from clots that cause heart attacks and stroke to bleeding disorders.

Operation Vigilant Sample: First responder training for suspicious powders
A NIST team is working with the US National Guard on a coordinated effort to train emergency first responders in the delicate and potentially critical task of securing reliable samples of suspected biothreats.

Jefferson receives $1 million W.M. Keck Foundation grant to study uncharted 98 percent of human genome
Scientists at Thomas Jefferson University have been awarded a $1 million medical research grant from the W.M.

Finding could reduce antibiotic use in critically ill patients
Measuring the levels of a natural body chemical may allow doctors to reduce the duration of antibiotic use and improve the health outcomes of critically ill patients.

New GSA special paper defines the nature and aim of paleoseismology
How is paleoseismology defined and what is its main aim?

VISTA finds 96 star clusters hidden behind dust
Using data from the VISTA infrared survey telescope at ESO's Paranal Observatory, an international team of astronomers has discovered 96 new open star clusters hidden by the dust in the Milky Way.

JTC and NTU set up joint center to drive innovation in industrial infrastructure
JTC Corporation and Nanyang Technological University have announced the setting up of a joint research center to promote the growth and development of economically viable and sustainable industrial infrastructure solutions in Singapore.

Springer partners with Chinese Mechanical Engineering Society
As of January 2012, Springer, one of the leading publishers in the fields of science, technology and medicine, will publish the Chinese Journal of Mechanical Engineering, an official Chinese Mechanical Engineering Society journal.

Basis for battery-powered skin patch for wider range of protein-based medicines
Scientists have confirmed the feasibility of using a new drug delivery system -- the basis for a battery-powered skin patch -- to administer medication that shows promise for treating peripheral artery disease and healing stubborn skin ulcers and burns.

New WHO guidelines call for more evidence on drug-resistant TB
The European Respiratory Journal is today (Aug. 4, 2011) publishing the updated guidelines of the World Health Organization that aim to help manage drug-resistant tuberculosis.

Traumatic brain injury: NIH-funded researchers will assess biomarkers for diagnosis and treatment
Biomarkers in the bloodstream could provide physicians with a quick and accurate method of assessing the severity of traumatic brain injury and helping deliver and monitor the results of therapies, such as progesterone treatment.

Bittman to receive 2011 Gene D. Cohen Award
The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) -- the nation's largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging -- and the National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA) have chosen Barry Bittman, MD, of the Yamaha Music and Wellness Institute as the 2011 recipient of the Gene D.

National survey reveals widespread mistaken beliefs about memory
A new survey reveals that many people in the US -- in some cases a substantial majority -- think that memory is more powerful, objective and reliable than it actually is.

Ray Semlitsch receives 2011 Fitch Award for Excellence in Herpetology
Ray Semlitsch, Curators' Professor of Biology in the College of Arts and Science at the University of Missouri, is the recipient of the 2011 Fitch Award for Excellence in Herpetology from the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists.

Unconventional hunt for new cancer targets leads to a powerful drug candidate for leukemia
Scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory have used an unconventional approach to cancer drug discovery to identify a new potential treatment for acute myeloid leukemia (AML), an aggressive blood cancer that is currently incurable in 70 percent of patients.

NC State gets $25 million grant to nullify norovirus
Remember that last case of food poisoning? Odds are it was caused by a nasty pathogen called a norovirus.

B.C. researchers find quick, low-cost tests can accurately identify childhood developmental delays
Researchers have found that two existing screening tests are accurate in diagnosing development delays in children and could be incorporated in a busy family practice setting with relative ease.

Novel coatings show great promise as flame retardants in polyurethane foam
Gram for gram, novel carbon nanofiber-filled coatings devised by NIST researchers and Texas A&M University outperformed conventional flame retardants used in the polyurethane foam of upholstered furniture chairs, and mattresses by at least 160 percent and perhaps by as much as 1,130 percent.

Research helps breeders really know their onions to enhance global food security
Research led by the Warwick Crop Centre in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick has developed a unique collection of information about the disease resistance of 96 of the world's onion varieties.

First observational test of the 'multiverse'
The theory that our universe is contained inside a bubble, and that multiple alternative universes exist inside their own bubbles -- making up the

Standard aplastic anemia therapy improves patient outcomes better than newer version
A comparison clinical study of two aplastic anemia treatments found that ATGAM, currently the only licensed aplastic anemia drug in the United States, improved blood cell counts and survival significantly more than did Thymoglobulin, a similar but reportedly more potent treatment.

Research explores how breast cancer spreads and new ways to treat it
Research into new methods to prevent and slow metastatic breast cancer will be presented this week at the Era of Hope conference, a scientific meeting hosted by the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program.

The Geological Society of America announces 2011 awardees
The Geological Society of America will recognize outstanding scientific achievements and distinguished service to the profession at its 2011 Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, Minn.

Text message reminders improve healthcare practice in rural Africa, study finds
New research funded by the Wellcome Trust has shown that sending text message reminders to health-care workers in rural Africa can improve the implementation of national guidelines for treating malaria.

Natural killer cells participate in immune response against HIV
A new study shows for the first time that natural killer cells, which are part of the body's first-line defense against infection, can contribute to the immune response against HIV.

Calcifying microalgae are witnesses of increasing ocean acidification
For the first time researchers have examined on a global scale how calcified algae in their natural habitat react to increasing acidification due to higher marine uptake of carbon dioxide.

New study calls into question reliance on animal models in cardiovascular research
Two recent research studies have found differences between the distribution of potassium-ion-channel variants in the mouse heart and in the human heart.

'Watermark ink' device identifies unknown liquids instantly
Materials scientists and applied physicists collaborating at Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have invented a new device that can instantly identify an unknown liquid.

Armchair science: DNA strands that select nanotubes are first step to a practical 'quantum wire'
NIST researchers have tailored single strands of DNA to purify the special

Virginia Tech professors publish research on post-traumatic stress
Prevalence of post-traumatic stress was significantly higher among women after the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech.

USDA scientists study effects of rising carbon dioxide on rangelands
Rising carbon dioxide levels can reverse the drying effects of predicted higher temperatures on semi-arid rangelands, according to a study published today in the scientific journal Nature by a team of US Department of Agriculture and university scientists.

Getting to the heart of the appeal of video games
People spend 3 billion hours a week playing video games but little is known scientifically about why they are actually fun in the first place.

Predicting perilous plaque in coronary arteries via fluid dynamics
Researchers have developed a method for predicting which areas of the coronary arteries will develop more atherosclerotic plaque over time, based on intracoronary ultrasound and blood flow measurements.

Text messaging improves management of malaria treatment by health workers
Sending daily text-message reminders to health workers can improve the number of children with malaria being correctly treated by nearly 25 percent over a six-month period, according to the first study to examine the use of text messaging on health workers' behavior.

'Big splat' may explain the moon's mountainous far side
The mountainous region on the far side of the moon, known as the lunar farside highlands, may be the solid remains of a collision with a smaller companion moon, according to a new study by planetary scientists at UC Santa Cruz.

UGA researchers use gold nanoparticles to diagnose flu in minutes
Arriving at a rapid and accurate diagnosis is critical during flu outbreaks, but until now, physicians and public health officials have had to choose between a highly accurate yet time-consuming test or a rapid but error-prone test.

Fighting breast cancer from new angles
In their lifetime, women have more than a 12 percent risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Urine test shows prostate cancer risk, U-M study finds
A new urine test can help aid early detection of and treatment decisions about prostate cancer, a study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology finds.

It's your standard pilot project: NIST to offer documentary standards to first responders
Seeking to measure the US first responder community's need for documentary standards at the federal, state and local levels, NIST will distribute free copies of documentary standards to first responders as part of a small pilot project.

Crop breeding could 'slash CO2 levels'
Breeding crops with roots a meter deeper in the ground could lower atmospheric CO2 levels dramatically, with significant environmental benefits, according to research by a leading University of Manchester scientist.

North Texas wildfires spark historic federal-state collaborative study
Two wildland-urban interface fires earlier this year outside of Amarillo, Texas, are now the most thoroughly investigated and scientifically evaluated events of their kind, thanks to a collaborative effort between NIST and the Texas Forest Service.

Product stewardship: Designing for life after the consumer
Manufacturers of everything from smart phones to SUVs are starting to design products not just for the customer's use, but also for an often troublesome life after the consumer, according to an article in Chemical & Engineering News, ACS' weekly news magazine.

Lifestyles of the old and healthy defy expectations
People who live to 95 or older are no more virtuous than the rest of us in terms of their diet, exercise routine or smoking and drinking habits, according to researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.

ONR-Funded smartphone app exceeds 33,000 downloads in first 3 weeks
A mobile phone app that teaches players about flight dynamics has been downloaded more than 10,000 times a week, the Office of Naval Research, which funded the technology, announced on Aug.

25 percent of Ontarians hospitalized for depression required ER visit or readmission within 30 days
Twenty-five percent of people who were hospitalized for depression were readmitted or visited an emergency room again for depression within 30 days of discharge, according to a new study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Italian academia is a family business, statistical analysis reveals
Unusually high clustering of last names within Italian academic institutions and disciplines indicates widespread nepotism in the country's schools, according to a new computational analysis.

Biocontrol of sweetpotato weevils
The warm humid conditions of the tropics make it tough for farmers to keep their crops pest free.

Research links diet during pregnancy to breast cancer risk reduction in female offspring
During pregnancy, women are counseled to refrain from consuming certain types of foods, beverages and medications in order to avoid jeopardizing the health and development of the fetus.

NIST to conduct technical study on impacts of Joplin, Mo., tornado
NIST has announced that it will conduct a full technical study on the impacts of the May 22, 2011, tornado that struck Joplin, Mo.

What steers vampires to blood
Scientists have known for years that when vampire bats tear through an animal's skin with their razor-sharp teeth, their noses guide them to the best spots -- where a precise bite will strike a vein and spill forth nourishing blood.

Mayo Clinic examines why knee osteoarthritis afflicts more women than men
A Mayo Clinic orthopedic surgeon suspects that the nagging pain and inflammation that women can experience in their knees may be different from what men encounter, and she has been chosen to lead a novel US-Canadian study to explore the question.

Plant Biology 2011 will bring 1,500 plant scientists to Minneapolis
Many of the world's top plant scientists will convene in Minneapolis this month to discuss new scientific developments using plants in research.

Wayne State researcher receives NSF award to develop neural implants
Neural implants have the potential to treat disorders and diseases that typically require long-term treatment, such as blindness, deafness, epilepsy, spinal cord injury, and Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Researchers develop and test new molecule as a delivery vehicle to image and kill brain tumors
A single compound with dual function -- the ability to deliver a diagnostic and therapeutic agent -- may one day be used to enhance the diagnosis, imaging and treatment of brain tumors, according to findings from Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia Tech.

6 million years of savanna
University of Utah scientists used chemical isotopes in ancient soil to measure prehistoric tree cover - in effect, shade -- and found that grassy, tree-dotted savannas prevailed at most East African sites where human ancestors and their ape relatives evolved during the past 6 million years.

Home pharmacist visits seek to cut hospital readmission rates
The URI College of Pharmacy is pairing home visits from pharmacists with the latest technology, providing instant access to a patient's medical history and medications, all in an effort to reduce hospital readmissions.

A research tale with a heart to match: Professor looks at cardiovascular disease in dogs
Kansas State University professor Michele Borgarelli is researching mitral valve disease, the most common acquired cardiovascular disease in dogs.

First opal-like crystals discovered in meteorite
Scientists have found opal-like crystals in the Tagish Lake meteorite, which fell to Earth in Canada in 2000.

NOAA study: Slowing climate change by targeting gases other than carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide remains the undisputed king of recent climate change, but other greenhouse gases measurably contribute to the problem.

Harnessing the power of positive thoughts and emotions to treat depression
Positive activity interventions (PAIs) offer a safe, low-cost, and self-administered approach to managing depression and may offer hope to individuals with depressive disorders who do not respond or have access to adequate medical therapy, according to a comprehensive review article in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert Inc.

Bellybutton microbiomes
Human skin is teeming with microbes -- communities of bacteria, many of which are harmless, live alongside the more infamous microbes sometimes found on the skin.

Science showcase presents psychology's 'hands-on' benefits
The American Psychological Association plans to feature three public demonstrations of psychological science applications, including one that enables

GEN reports on nanotechology's impact on mass spectrometry
A move toward smaller and smaller sample sizes is leading to a new generation of mass spectrometry instrumentation, reports Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN). 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