Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 25, 2011
Notre Dame astrophysicists identify missing fuel for galactic star formation
A new study by University of Notre Dame astrophysicists concludes that the Milky Way will have the fuel to continue forming stars, thanks to massive clouds of ionized gas raining down from its halo and intergalactic space.

Earth-bound asteroids come from stony asteroids, new studies confirm
Researchers got their first up-close look at dust from the surface of a small, stony asteroid after the Hayabusa spacecraft scooped some up and brought it back to Earth.

A math-based model for deep-water oil drilling
In a paper published this month in the SIAM Journal on Mathematical Analysis, author Steinar Evje presents new analysis of a mathematical model that has applications to the study of gas kicks in deep-water oil wells, which in worst-case scenarios can lead to blowouts.

NIH research model predicts weight with varying diet, exercise changes
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have created a mathematical model -- and an accompanying online weight simulation tool -- of what happens when people of varying weights, diets and exercise habits try to change their weight.

Hedge funds sold stocks quickly while mutual fund investors suffered larger losses during crisis
A new study of stock trading during the financial crisis of 2007 to 2009 found that hedge funds sold their stocks much more aggressively than mutual funds at the first signs of poor performance.

Could a tumor suppressor also fight obesity?
The hormone receptor guanylyl cyclase C (GCC) has been established as a suppressor of colorectal cancer tumors, but new evidence from Thomas Jefferson University suggests it may also help fight one of the country's biggest pandemics: obesity.

Science magazine honors IAU-endorsed Universe Awareness program with prestigious SPORE Award
Universe Awareness, a program endorsed by the IAU that uses astronomy to inspire and educate very young children around the world, has been recognized for its educational value by Science magazine.

Darwin's butterflies!? Spectacular species radiation in the Caribbean studied with 'DNA barcoding'
In one of the first taxonomic revisions of Neotropical butterflies that utilizes

Achieving realistic physical activity goals benefits RA patients
Researchers from the Netherlands report that patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who have higher levels of self-efficacy for physical activity are more likely to achieve their physical activity goals.

Berkeley scientists discover an 'instant cosmic classic' supernova
A supernova discovered August 24 is closer to Earth -- approximately 21 million light-years away -- than any other of its kind in a generation.

Getting back from a trip 'ahead of time'
According to a new study by Niels van de Ven from Tilburg University in the Netherlands and his colleagues it seems that many people find that, when taking a trip, the way back seems shorter.

Mural cells from saphenous vein could have long-term benefits in heart attacks
New research has found the transplantation of stem cells that reside in human veins can help in the recovery of a heart attack.

Fossil discovery represents new milestone in early mammal evolution
A well-preserved fossil discovered in northeast China provides new information about the earliest ancestors of most of today's mammal species -- the placental mammals.

LSUHSC research identifies differences in metabolic disease markers in healthy & obese 7-to-9-year-olds
Research led by LSUHSC's Dr. Melinda Sothern has found that obese 7-to-9-year-old children had nearly three times the liver fat and almost double the belly fat of their non-obese counterparts and that insulin resistance was more than double and insulin sensitivity less than half respectively.

A lifetime of physical activity yields measurable benefits as we age
The benefits of physical activity accumulate across a lifetime, according to a new study published in the October issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Characterizing chaotic structure
Mélanges, in general terms, are a mixed body of rock of various sizes, composition, and origin, and are commonly embedded in an argillitic, sandy, or serpentinite matrix.

What determines a company's performance? The shape of the CEO's face!
Believe it or not, one thing that predicts how well a CEO's company performs is the width of his face.

Breakthrough in genetics of fibroids
Uterine leiomyomas, also called fibroids, cause a very significant burden to women's health.

UC Davis awarded 5 therapy development stem cell grants
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the state stem cell agency, today approved research planning grants for five UC Davis Health System teams that are working to develop human clinical trials to treat illnesses such as Huntington's disease, vascular disease, osteoporosis, HIV/AIDS and airway disease in children.

Uninsured trauma patients are more likely to use the ED for follow-up care
Providing access to an outpatient clinic isn't enough to keep some trauma patients who have been discharged from the hospital from returning to the emergency department (ED) for follow-up care, even for such minor needs as pain medication refills and dressing changes, according to new Johns Hopkins research.

Economic growth and that of waste does not have to go hand-in-hand
Waste is a term that has taken on new significance -- a paradigm of the evolution that has taken place in this matter.

Single vaccines to protect against both rabies and Ebola
Researchers from Thomas Jefferson University, among other institutions, including the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, have developed single vaccines to protect against both rabies and the Ebola virus.

Yale researchers use genetic code to engineer a living protein
Yale University researchers have successfully re-engineered the protein-making machinery in bacteria, a technical tour de force that promises to revolutionize the study and treatment of a variety of diseases.

UCSB scientists, telescopes help discover 'once in a generation' supernova
A supernova discovered Wednesday is closer to Earth -- approximately 21 million light years away -- than any other of its kind in a generation.

Results of medication studies in top medical journals may be misleading to readers
Studies about medications published in the most influential medical journals are frequently designed in a way that yields misleading or confusing results.

New sensors streamline detection of estrogenic compounds
Researchers have engineered new sensors that fluoresce in the presence of compounds that interact with estrogen receptors in human cells.

New score can tell doctors how long cancer patients have left to live
A new scoring system can more reliably predict whether patients with advanced cancer are likely to survive for

School-based mental health screening for teens results in connection to care
A new study involving nearly 2,500 high school students demonstrates the value of routine mental health screening in school to identify adolescents at-risk for mental illness, and to connect those adolescents with recommended follow-up care.

Society of Interventional Radiology Foundation campaign bolstered by covidien pledge
The Society of Interventional Radiology Foundation's Discovery Campaign, which seeks to further the growth of minimally invasive medicine into new areas of discovery, announced a major corporate pledge to that initiative.

'Hidden' differences of chromosome organization become visible
To understand the nature of chromosome changes in the voles Microtus savii, researchers from the Rome State University

Molecular chaperones traffic signaling proteins between cells in plant stem-cell maintenance pathway
Plant biologists at CSHL have discovered that proteins called chaperonins are an indispensable factor in making possible cell-to-cell trafficking of signals that maintain stem cells and enable plants to grow.

Discovery explains why influenza B virus exclusively infects humans; opens door for drug development
Researchers at Rutgers University and the University of Texas at Austin have reported a discovery that could help scientists develop drugs to fight seasonal influenza epidemics caused by the common influenza B strain.

NASA satellites Hurricane Irene almost one-third the size of US east coast
Hurricane Irene is a major hurricane, and NASA satellite data shows its diameter is now about one-third the length of the US Atlantic coastline.

Plants could pave the way for new ovarian cancer treatments
Tropical plants may contain the basis of new and effective treatments for ovarian cancer, according to researchers at the Universities of Strathclyde and Portsmouth.

Tackling the obesity epidemic: governments must lead
The final paper in the Lancet Obesity Series looks at the interventions needed to halt and reverse the epidemic.

New clinical study reveals statistically significant reduction in NICU infant mortality
In a long-running randomized study of over 3,000 preterm infants, those whose care included the Heart Rate Observation System, or HeRO monitor, experienced greater than 20 percent reduced mortality, effectively saving one infant's life for every 48 who were monitored.

Life expectancy success story
Increases in life expectancy, due to better quality of life and better health care, can be patchy, with the gap between rich and poor getting bigger as time goes on.

Irrigation's impacts on global carbon uptake
Globally, irrigation increases agricultural productivity by an amount roughly equivalent to the entire agricultural output of the US, according to a new University of Wisconsin-Madison study.

Stevens has an eye on the science of Hurricane Irene
While residents along the New Jersey and New York coasts rush to the store for batteries and bottled water, scientists at Stevens Institute of Technology are heading to the laboratory to help predict the impact of Hurricane Irene.

Uncovering the spread of deadly cancer
For the first time, scientists can see pathways to stop a deadly brain cancer in its tracks.

Temporary ER staff poses increased safety risk to patients
Temporary staff members working in a hospital's fast-paced emergency department are twice as likely as permanent employees to be involved in medication errors that harm patients, new Johns Hopkins research suggests.

Cars could run on recycled newspaper, Tulane scientists say
Here's one way that old-fashioned newsprint beats the Internet. Tulane University scientists have discovered a novel bacterial strain, dubbed

Canoodling with cavemen gave healthy boost to human genome, Stanford study finds
Sex with Neanderthals and another close relative -- the recently discovered Denisovans -- has endowed some human gene pools with beneficial versions of immune system genes, report researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine in an article to be published online by the journal Science at the Science Express website on Aug.

Tolerance grows for a wide variety of groups, except for Muslim extremists
Although Americans are increasingly tolerant of the open expression of a variety of views, the terrorist attacks of Sept.

New imaging test gives physicians better tool to diagnose Parkinson's disease
Physicians now have an objective test to evaluate patients for parkinsonian syndromes, such as Parkinson's disease.

MDA targets $13.7 million in research grants for DMD, ALS and other neuromuscular diseases
The Muscular Dystrophy Association today announced funding, totaling $13.7 million, for 40 new research initiatives targeting nearly two dozen progressive neuromuscular diseases.

Vitamin A supplements for children could save 600,000 lives a year
Children in low and middle income countries should be given vitamin A supplements to prevent death and illness, concludes a study published on today.

Why HIV infection rates are on the rise
By cross-referencing several databases and performing a molecular analysis of the virus, Prof.

Elsevier congratulates Dr. Charles Silverstein upon his receipt of 2 awards
Elsevier congratulates Charles Silverstein who received two awards at the American Psychological Association Convention in Washington, DC.

A planet made of diamond
A once-massive star that's been transformed into a small planet made of diamond: that is what University of Manchester astronomers think they've found in the Milky Way.

Cell receptor could allow measles virus to target tumors
Canadian researchers have discovered that a tumor cell marker is a receptor for measles virus, suggesting the possible use of measles virus to help fight cancer.

Heart may hold key to unexplained nausea in youths
Heart rate and blood pressure regulation may hold the key to treating unexplained chronic nausea in children.

Protein linked to Parkinson's disease may regulate fat metabolism
National Institutes of Health researchers have found that Parkin, an important protein linked with some cases of early-onset Parkinson's disease, regulates how cells in our bodies take up and process dietary fats.

President's Bioethics Commission to wrap up historical investigation
At its public meeting on Aug. 29 in Washington, the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues will publicly discuss several key findings as it refines the conclusions of its historical investigation into the U.S.

A more realistic and accurate weight loss predictive model: 100 calories fewer per day would see weight loss of around 10 pounds over 3 years
For decades, a high proportion of doctors and dietitians have worked to an incorrect assumption that cutting 500 calories of energy intake per day will result in steady weight loss of about one pound per week.

LSU researcher studies health effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
More than a year after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill devastated coastal communities in Louisiana, there are still sections of oiled coastlines, livelihoods hanging in the balance and many lingering questions about the long-term impacts of the disaster.

Lancet editorial: Framework convention for obesity control urgently needed
The Lancet editorial accompanying the series makes an urgent call to establish a Framework Convention for Obesity Control, similar to the one currently in operation by WHO to reduce tobacco consumption.

Workplace stress a growing health hazard
Job-related stress is catching up with workers. A new study by Concordia University economists, published in BMC Public Health, has found that increased job stress causes workers to increasingly seek help from health professionals for physical, mental and emotional ailments linked to job stress.

Aerobic exercise bests resistance training at burning belly fat
Aerobic exercise is your best bet when it comes to losing that dreaded belly fat, a new study finds.

Researcher receives $1.1 million to study lupus
The US Department of Defense recently awarded a $1.1 million grant to a Cleveland Clinic researcher to investigate why females are disproportionately affected by lupus.

Government-led efforts targeting eating habits of children needed to curb worldwide obesity epidemic
The global obesity epidemic has been escalating for decades, yet long-term prevention efforts have barely begun and are inadequate, according to a new paper from international public health experts published in the Aug.

Researchers find wide gap in immune responses of people exposed to the flu
Why do some folks who take every precaution still get the flu, while others never even get the sniffles?

NCI awards $19.3m for multisite investigation of cancer disparities
Why are African-American women more likely than those of European descent to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age, and with poor prognoses?

Young and Karr propose ways to improve how observational studies are conducted
NISS statisticians point out that medical and other observational studies often produce results that are later shown to be incorrect.

São Paulo sets precedent for role of government intervention in ecological restoration projects
The role of national governments in ecological or environmental conservation remains contentious the world over.

Smoking soon after waking raises risk of lung and head and neck cancers
Smokers who tend to take their first cigarette soon after they wake up in the morning may have a higher risk of developing lung and head and neck cancers than smokers who refrain from lighting up right away.

Research shows heat in chili peppers can ease sinus problems
Hot chili peppers are known to make people

JCI online early table of contents: August 25, 2011
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for papers to be published Aug.

New depiction of light could boost telecommunications channels
Physicists with the Institute of Ultrafast Spectroscopy and Lasers at the City College of New York have presented a new way to map spiraling light that could help harness untapped data channels in optical fibers.

Scientists create natural Alzheimer's-fighting compound in lab
Scientists at Yale University have developed the first practical method to create a compound called huperzine A in the lab.

Scientists receive grant to develop new DNA sequencing method
A new method of single molecule DNA sequencing is being developed by scientists at the University of Southampton.

Identifying correlations in electronic patient records
A new study demonstrates how text mining of electronic health records can be used to create medical term profiles of patients, which can be used both to identify co-occurrence of diseases and to cluster patients into groups with highly similar clinical features.

New imaging method sheds light on cell growth
University of Illinois researchers developed a new imaging method that can measure cell mass using two beams of light, offering new insight into the much-debated problem of whether cells grow at a constant rate or exponentially.

Omega-3s reduce stroke severity
A diet rich in omega-3s reduces the severity of brain damage after a stroke, according to a study conducted by Université Laval researchers.

Chickens eject sperm from males they don't fancy
The following news tips relate to the September issue of the American Naturalist:

4 decades of the rising obesity epidemic
Obesity -- defined by a body-mass index (BMI) greater than 30kg/m2 -- is increasing in all countries, but rates vary widely between countries.

65 million more obese adults in the USA and 11 million more in the UK by 2030 if historic trends continue
The second paper in the Lancet Obesity Series analyses obesity trends in the USA and UK, and their impact on prevalence of diseases and health-care spending.

Biological communities studied at historical WWII shipwrecks along North Carolina
In the waters off the North Carolina coast, historically-significant World War II submarines and shipwrecks rest on the seafloor, a testament to a relatively unknown chapter in US history.

NASA study refutes claims of drought-driven declines in plant productivity, global food security
A new, comprehensive study by an international team of scientists, including scientists at Boston University in the US and the Universities of Viçosa and Campinas in Brazil, has been published in the current issue of Science (August 26, 2011) refuting earlier alarmist claims that drought has induced a decline in global plant productivity during the past decade and posed a threat to global food security.

Making tomorrow's bioenergy yeasts strong
Cornstalks, wheat straw, and other rough, fibrous, harvest-time leftovers may soon be less expensive to convert into cellulosic ethanol, thanks to US Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists' studies of a promising new biorefinery yeast.

Linking Parkinson's disease and fat levels in the blood
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a relatively common neurodegenerative disorder. About 5-10 percent of PD cases are inherited, and mutations in the Parkin gene are a common cause of familial PD.

Few health problems are caused by vaccines, IOM report finds
An analysis of more than 1,000 research articles concluded that few health problems are caused by or clearly associated with vaccines.

Slim down by targeting the hormone uroguanylin
The number of people who are obese and suffer one or more of its associated health problems is escalating dramatically.

Third genetic link to osteoarthritis discovered
Researchers today reveal the third gene associated with osteoarthritis, a painful and debilitating disease that afflicts four out of ten people over the age of 70.

Fermilab experiment measurements decrease surprise difference in neutrino and antineutrino masses
The physics community got a jolt last year when results showed for the first time that neutrinos and their antimatter counterparts, antineutrinos, might have different masses.

New study benchmarks current critical care practices in the United States
New nationwide benchmarks representing current critical care practices for ICUs may highlight opportunities for care improvement.

Exotic galaxy reveals tantalizing tale
A galaxy with a unique set of characteristics is helping astronomers understand processes that probably were more common when the Universe was much younger.

Berkeley Lab scientists unveil an X-ray technique called HARPES
Berkeley Lab researchers led the development of a technique called HARPES, for Hard X-ray Angle-Resolved PhotoEmission Spectroscopy, that enables the study of electronic structures deep below material surfaces, including the buried layers and interfaces in nanoscale devices.

Clinical study shows young brains lack the wisdom of their elders
Language task reveals brains of older people are not slower but rather wiser than young brains, allowing older adults to achieve an equivalent level of performance.

AIAA to present awards at SPACE 2011 Conference in Long Beach
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) will present awards recognizing key achievements in space science and technology, space program management, and sustained service to the Institute, at a noon awards luncheon on Sept.

Possible biological control discovered for pathogen devastating amphibians
Zoologists have discovered that a freshwater species of zooplankton will eat a fungal pathogen which is devastating amphibian populations around the world.

Journal Science honors 'Universe Awareness' with award
A website that aims to inspire young children by teaching them about the immensity of the universe and the wonder of the night sky has won the Science Prize for Online Resources in Education (SPORE).

E. coli in the countryside: whose problem is it anyway?
Reducing the risks of catching E. coli O157 in the countryside is everyone's problem.

The malaria mosquito is disappearing -- but it is not just good news
The incidence of malaria in many African countries south of the Sahara is falling rapidly, shows new research from a Danish-Tanzanian research group.

First glimpse into birth of the Milky Way
For almost 20 years astrophysicists have been trying to recreate the formation of spiral galaxies such as our Milky Way realistically.

Researchers developing new test to measure risk for birth defects and neuro-developmental disorders
Researchers at SUNY Downstate Medical Center have received a $50,000 grant from the SUNY Research Foundation Technology Accelerator Fund to develop a diagnostic test for the folate receptor autoantibody. 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