Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 09, 2011
Fragile Earth International Conference
This conference provides an international platform for research on global geodynamic processes and plate motion, regional plate boundary processes and their associated resources (e.g., oil, gas and geothermal energy), and on dynamics of fault networks and magmatic systems with their associated hazards (e.g., earthquakes and volcanic eruptions).

Is this how simple life got complicated?
A new study has created an analog of what researchers think the first multicellular cooperation might have looked like, showing that yeast cells -- in an environment that requires them to work for their food -- grow and reproduce better in multicellular clumps than singly.

Penn study on silencing of tumor suppressor gene suggests new target for lymphoma
Mariusz A. Wasik, M.D., professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and Qian Zhang, M.D., PhD, research assistant professor, both from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and their colleagues, found that a cancer-causing fusion protein works by silencing the tumor suppressor gene IL-2R common gamma-chain (IL-2Rγ).

Polar dinosaur tracks open new trail to past
Paleontologists have discovered a group of more than 20 polar dinosaur tracks on the coast of Victoria, Australia, offering a rare glimpse into animal behavior during the last period of pronounced global warming, about 105 million years ago.

Atlantic herring population trends linked to egg predation by haddock
Scientists from NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center have developed a population model for Atlantic herring that links herring population trends to the size of the haddock population.

A little exercise may protect the aging brain from memory loss following infection
A small amount of exercise shields older animals from memory loss following a bacterial infection, according to a study in the Aug.

Trastuzumab raises risk of heart problems in the elderly with history of heart disease or diabetes
The first study to investigate the effect of the breast cancer drug trastuzumab (Herceptin) on heart and vascular function in elderly patients has found that it increases the risk of heart problems, particularly in women with a history of heart disease, diabetes or both.

York U researchers zero in on protein that may help treat obesity, diabetes
A newly-identified protein may hold the key to keeping appetite and blood sugar in check, according to a study by York University researchers.

Critical milestone reached for 2012 Landsat Mission
The Operational Land Imager, built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo., has been approved by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center for shipment to Orbital Sciences Corporation, Gilbert, Ariz. for integration onto the Landsat Data Continuity Mission spacecraft.

Ames Laboratory partners with Iowa start-up under DOE innovation challenge
The US Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory and Iowa Powder Atomization Technologies have joined forces in DOE's America's Next Top Energy Innovator challenge to create jobs in Iowa.

Small amount of exercise could protect against memory loss in elderly, CU study suggests
A new University of Colorado Boulder study shows that a small amount of physical exercise could profoundly protect the elderly from long-term memory loss that can happen suddenly following infection, illnesses or injury in old age.

AAO-HNS Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO, Sept. 11-14, 2011
The American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) welcomes you to its 115th Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO, Sept.

Study builds on plausible scenario for origin of life on Earth
A relatively simple combination of naturally occurring sugars and amino acids offers a plausible route to the building blocks of life, according to a paper published in Nature Chemistry co-authored by a professor at the University of California, Merced.

Child refugee mental health compromised by a lack of research and inadequate funding
The increasingly restrictive asylum immigration policies of many high-income countries are leaving low-income and middle-income countries to cope with large numbers of displaced children without the necessary resources to prevent poor mental health outcomes.

A change in perspective could be all it takes to succeed in school
Knowing the right way to handle stress in the classroom can make the difference between success and failure for the millions of students going back to school this fall, new research shows.

Species affected by climate change: To shift or not to shift?
Relocating species threatened by climate change is a radical and hotly debated strategy for maintaining biodiversity.

Teaming up to build 3-D nanomaterials
A national team of experts, led by a Case Western Reserve University researcher, has received a multi-million-dollar grant to bring unrivaled qualities found in one- and two-dimensional nanomaterials into three dimensions.

Sneaky squid: Why small males have big sperm
Male squid employ different reproductive strategies depending on their body size.

NASA researchers: DNA building blocks can be made in space
NASA-funded researchers have evidence that some building blocks of DNA, the molecule that carries the genetic instructions for life, found in meteorites were likely created in space.

Sleep-disordered breathing may increase risk of cognitive impairment, dementia among older women
Older women with sleep-disordered breathing, as indicated by measures of hypoxia (oxygen deficiency), were more likely to develop cognitive impairment or dementia than women without this disorder, according to a study in the Aug.

Who takes risks?
Columbia Business School research depicts that the reality of who takes risks and when goes beyond stereotypes.

Tests that use DNA from mother's blood to determine sex of fetus often effective
As a noninvasive method of determining the sex of a fetus, tests using cell-free fetal DNA obtained from the mother's blood after 7 weeks gestation performed well, while urine-based tests appear to be unreliable, according to a review and analysis of previous studies, reported in the Aug.

Can blaming others make people sick?
Constant bitterness can make a person ill, according to Concordia University researchers who have examined the relationship between failure, bitterness and quality of life.

Psychiatrists failing to adequately monitor patients for metabolic side-effects of prescribed drugs
People treated in psychiatric settings are receiving inadequate medical monitoring following high risk antipsychotic medication.

New technology revives biofuels
Started three years ago, EQUIMOTOR PLUS, an R&D project financed through the EUREKA initiative, benefited from the brains of some of the brightest researchers in the four corners of Europe.

Solar flares: What does it take to be X-class?
Solar flares are giant explosions on the sun that send energy, light and high speed particles into space.

Forests absorb one-third of our fossil fuel emissions
The world's established forests remove 2.4 billion tonnes of carbon per year from the atmosphere -- equivalent to one third of current annual fossil fuel emissions -- according to new research published today in the journal Science.

MU programs teach Missouri families to make healthy food choices
Eating healthy and being active are important, but choosing a healthy snack, planning a nutritious meal or checking the nutrition label on an item are not always easy for people with limited knowledge and resources.

Scientists discover new eruption at undersea volcano, after successfully forecasting the event
A team of scientists just discovered a new eruption of Axial Seamount, an undersea volcano located about 250 miles off the Oregon coast -- and one of the most active and intensely studied seamounts in the world.

Rural road maintenance may accidentally push spread of invasive plants
Road maintenance may accidentally spread the seeds of invasice plants, according to Penn State researchers.

What counts is the water that actually enters plant roots
To help farmers make the best use of limited irrigation water in the arid West, US Department of Agriculture researchers are helping farmers determine how much water major crops actually need.

Younger black patients undergoing dialysis have higher risk of death compared to white patients
Even though overall black patients have a lower risk of death while receiving dialysis than white patients, this applies primarily to older adults, as black patients younger than 50 years of age have a significantly higher risk of death, according to a study in the Aug.

A new line of defense against sexual assault
Professor Fernando Patolsky and Dr. Michael Ioffe of Tel Aviv University have developed an easy-to-use sensor that, when dipped into a cocktail, will instantly detect the presence of a date rape drug.

First in vitro study of tricuspid valve mechanics uncovers causes for leakage
An estimated 1.6 million Americans suffer moderate to severe leakage through their heart's tricuspid valve, but what causes the problem is not well understood.

OncologyPRO -- a revolutionary resource for oncologists
A unique scientific information and education portal designed to help oncologists keep up to date with the latest research and clinical information in their field has been launched by the European Society for Medical Oncology in partnership with Thomson Reuters, the global information and news organization.

Schizophrenia study finds cognitive deficits significantly impair decision-making capacity
Concern about the capacity of individuals with schizophrenia to consent to clinical research studies has largely focused on impairment due to psychotic symptoms associated with the disorder.

Penn study shows an ancient crop effective in protecting against a 21st century hazard
Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have discovered that flax might have a new use for the 21st century: protecting healthy tissues and organs from the harmful effects of radiation.

The complete sequencing of genomes of 4 important representative species in Inner Mongolia, China
Inner Mongolia Agricultural University and BGI, the world's largest genomics organization, jointly announced the complete sequencing of genomes of four important representative species in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China.

Authorship rules for medical journals flouted by pharma industry
Rather than ensure the proper attribution of authorship, rules set up by leading medical journals to define and credit authorship of published articles are exploited by the pharmaceutical industry in its attempt to conceal and misrepresent industry contributions to the literature.

August 2011 Geosphere highlights
he August 2011 Geosphere announces additions to several themed issues: Exploring The Deep Sea and Beyond; Origin and Evolution of The Sierra Nevada and Walker Lane; Geodynamics and Consequences of Lithospheric Removal in The Sierra Nevada, California.

Serological antibody tests to detect active TB are inaccurate and not cost-effective
Despite being widely available for sale in low-and-middle income countries, commercial serological tests used to detect active tuberculosis (by identifying antibodies to the tuberculosis-causing bacterium in a blood sample) do not accurately diagnose TB and, furthermore, often test positive when the patient does not have TB (false positive) and test negative when the patient actually has TB (false negative).

Indian Ocean pirates impede climate observations
Australian scientists have sought the help of the United States and Australian navies to plug a critical gap in their Argo ocean and climate monitoring program caused by Somali pirates operating in the western Indian Ocean.

New approach to thyroid surgery eliminates neck scar
Thyroid nodules affect nearly 13 million Americans and are a result of abnormal cell growth on the gland.

Music reduces anxiety in cancer patients
Cancer patients may benefit from sessions with trained music therapists or from listening to music.

Fragile Earth explored
The trips in this special

Hybrid solar system makes rooftop hydrogen
While roofs across the world sport photovoltaic solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity, a Duke University engineer believes a novel hybrid system can wring even more useful energy out of the sun's rays.

To avoid carbon debt, CRP beats fields of corn, soybeans
Farmers should wait before converting Conservation Reserve Program land to corn and soybean production, according to a Michigan State University study.

Improving early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease
Researchers at The University of Nottingham have been awarded £670,000 ($1 million) to develop a new early warning system for Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers use human cells to engineer functional anal sphincters in lab
Researchers have built the first functional anal sphincters in the laboratory, suggesting a potential future treatment for both fecal and urinary incontinence.

U. Iowa research team finds new genetic cause of blinding eye disease
Combining the expertise of several different labs, University of Iowa researchers have found a new genetic cause of the blinding eye disease retinitis pigmentosa and, in the process, discovered an entirely new version of the message that codes for the affected protein.

Medical leaders say individual health insurance mandate is important for patients/physicians
While the battle over the legality of the Affordable Care Act's mandate requiring most individuals to purchase health insurance continues to be fought, its impact on the quality and cost of care and what it would mean for patients and their physicians has been largely overlooked.

Curry spice could offer treatment hope for tendinitis
A derivative of a common culinary spice found in Indian curries could offer a new treatment hope for sufferers of the painful condition tendinitis, an international team of researchers has shown.

Scientists have new help finding their way around brain's nooks and crannies
Like explorers mapping a new planet, scientists probing the brain need every type of landmark they can get.

Major breakthrough on how viruses infect plants
CSIRO plant scientists have shed light on a problem that has puzzled researchers since the first virus was discovered in 1892 -- how exactly do they cause disease?

Lawson scientist presents joint pain treatment 2.0
Osteoarthritis affects roughly 10 percent of Canadians. Although there are viable treatment options for this painful disease, they are short-lived and can have serious side-effects.

Sleep apnea linked to increased risk of dementia in elderly women
Elderly women who suffer from sleep apnea -- characterized by disrupted breathing and sleep and a reduction in the intake of oxygen -- are about twice as likely to develop dementia in the next five years as those without the condition, according to a multicenter study led by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco.

New approach to sustain 'forage' fishing
Reduced catches of small oceanic

Researchers prove direct link between immunoglobulinE and atherogenesis
Guo-Ping Shi, D.Sc., Jing Wang, M.D., Ph.D. and colleagues in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, have demonstrated the direct participation of IgE in atherogenesis in a mouse model.

Study links personal, corporate risk-taking
A CEO who enjoys the adrenaline rush of flying a private airplane is more likely than other chief executives to exhibit similarly bold management characteristics, according to a new study by finance professors at the University of Oregon and the University of Notre Dame.

BIDMC scientists receive Challenge Awards from Prostate Cancer Foundation
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center researchers Martin Sanda, M.D., and Steven Balk M.D., Ph.D., have been awarded Challenge Awards of $1 million each from the Prostate Cancer Foundation to lead two cross-disciplinary teams of investigators in their pursuit of new treatments for patients with advanced prostate cancer.

Waging war on invasive plant species: Effects of invasives persist even after removal
Invasive species cost an estimated $1.4 trillion annually in their environmental and economic impacts worldwide and are second only to habitat loss as a threat to biodiversity.

Doctors, women should spend more time discussing mammograms
Due to changing guidelines concerning when and how often they should first be screened for breast cancer with mammograms, many women are confused.

Phone losing charge? Technology created by UCLA engineers allows LCDs to recycle energy
Researchers at UCLA Engineering have developed a novel energy harvesting and recycling concept for electronic devices -- incorporating their LCD screens with built-in photovoltaic polarizers -- so they could convert ambient light, sunlight, and the device's own backlight into electricity.

Nottingham scientists pioneer new method for nanoribbon production
Research involving scientists from the University of Nottingham is pioneering a new method of studying and making molecules.

Baker's yeast protects against fatal infections
Injecting mice with simple baker's yeast protects against the fatal fungal infection, aspergillosis, according to research published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology.

Groundbreaking research reveals clues to the formation of hearts, intestines and other key organs
How do the intestines in tiny birds or large mammals form intricate looping patterns?

Archaeologists uncover 3,000-year-old lion adorning citadel gate complex in Turkey
Archaeologists leading the University of Toronto's Tayinat Archaeological Project in southeastern Turkey have unearthed the remains of a monumental gate complex adorned with stone sculptures, including a magnificently carved lion.

Scripps Research scientist identifies critical role for night blindness gene
A scientist from the Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute has determined how a particular gene makes night vision possible

Wayne State researcher discovers antibiotic useful for localized treatment of bone wear
Total joint replacement surgeries can help relieve joint pain common in people with conditions like osteoarthritis.

The machinery for recombination is part of the chromosome structure
During the development of gametes, such as egg and sperm cells in humans, chromosomes are broken and rearranged at many positions.

German identities -- rediscovering national consciousness after 1989
Summer 2006 with the football world cup hosted in Germany brought a new sense of German national identity to the fore.

Disney, CMU researchers build face models that give animators intuitive control of expressions
Flashing a wink and a smirk might be second nature for some people, but computer animators can be hard-pressed to depict such an expression realistically.

Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center scientific director appointed to NLM Board of Regents
Ralph Roskies, scientific co-director of the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, has been appointed to the Board of Regents of the National Library of Medicine.

Narcissists look like good leaders -- but they aren't
Narcissists rise to the top. That's because other people think their qualities -- confidence, dominance, authority, and self-esteem -- make them good leaders.

No strong evidence to support aspirin use for IVF
A systematic review published in the Cochrane Library did not find compelling evidence to support the routine use of aspirin in women being treated for IVF.

Young black patients on kidney dialysis do much worse -- not better -- than white counterparts
For years, medical studies have reached the same conclusion: African-American patients do better on kidney dialysis than their white counterparts.

Resistance training can help smokers kick the habit, according to Miriam Hospital study
Resistance training, or weight lifting, can do more than just build muscle: it may also help smokers kick the habit, say researchers from the Miriam Hospital's Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine.

Deep-ocean sentinels on northern climate watch
Three deep-ocean moorings have become the foundation for a new drive to measure change in currents linking the Pacific and Indian Oceans through the Indonesia Archipelago -- a key factor influencing Australia's climate.

MSU professor launches new field of water research, nets $2.2 million NSF grant
Lakes, streams and wetlands are not isolated ecosystems, and a Michigan State University professor and her colleagues are pioneering a new field of research to show just how interconnected they are to their surroundings.

Federal agencies take action to digitally document nearly 50 endangered languages
The National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation today announced the award of 10 fellowships and 24 institutional grants totaling $3.9 million in the agencies' ongoing Documenting Endangered Languages program. 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