Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 01, 2011
A decade on, 9/11 rescue and recovery workers continue to suffer a high burden of
More than 50,000 rescue and recovery workers are estimated to have given assistance after the World Trade Center (WTC) attacks.

Sparing or sharing? Protecting wild species may require growing more food on less land
In parts of the world still rich in biodiversity, separating natural habitats from high-yielding farmland could be a more effective way to conserve wild species than trying to grow crops and conserve nature on the same land, according to a new study published today in the journal Science.

Using less water to grow more potatoes
Research conducted in part at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has confirmed that in some production systems, planting potatoes in flat beds can increase irrigation water use efficiency.

Up from the depths: How bacteria capture carbon in the 'twilight zone'
Located between 200 and 1,000 meters below the ocean surface is a

Study shows World Trade Center-exposed NYC firefighters are 19% more likely to have cancer than
A study published in this week's 9/11 Special Issue of The Lancet shows that a higher proportion of World Trade Center-exposed New York City male fighters have been diagnosed with cancer compared to both their non-exposed colleagues and a comparable sample of the New York City general population.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County announces discovery of important woolly rhino fossil
Fossil discoveries from Tibet offer new insights into the origin of the cold-adapted Pleistocene megafauna.

Discovery suggests way to block fetal brain damage produced by oxygen deprivation
Examining brain damage that occurs when fetuses in the womb are deprived of oxygen, researchers at The Scripps Research Institute have discovered that damage does not occur randomly but is linked to the specific action of a naturally occurring fatty molecule called LPA, acting through a receptor that transfers information into young brain cells.

Breast cancer risk drops when diet includes walnuts, Marshall researchers find
The risk of breast cancer dropped significantly in mice when their regular diet included a modest amount of walnut, Marshall University researchers report in the journal Nutrition and Cancer.

Faster progress through puberty linked to behavior problems
Children who go through puberty at a faster rate are more likely to act out and to suffer from anxiety and depression, according to a study by researchers at Penn State, Duke University and the University of California, Davis.

Mapping a model: International research on plant species appears in journal Nature
Two Kansas State University researchers have been collaborating on an international project involving genomes of Arabidopsis thaliana, a model plant species that can offer insights into other plants.

Manipulating plants' circadian clock may make all-season crops possible
Yale University researchers have identified a key genetic gear that keeps the circadian clock of plants ticking, a finding that could have broad implications for global agriculture.

Climate in the past million years determined greatly by dust in the Southern Ocean
A group of scientists led by researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich) has quantified dust and iron fluxes deposited in the Antarctic Ocean during the past 4 million years.

The quantum tunneling effect leads electron transport in porphyrins
The electron transport through porphyrin molecules is led by the tunneling effect described by the laws of quantum mechanics, according to an international research that has counted on the participation of a center of the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC).

UT Southwestern program identifies families at high risk for colorectal cancer
UT Southwestern Medical Center has developed a new lifesaving genetic screening program for families at high risk of contracting colorectal cancer, a deadly yet highly preventable form of cancer.

Modelling melanocyte differentiation in zebrafish
Researchers at the University of Bath have combined genetic data with mathematical modeling to provide insights into cells and how they differentiate.

World Trade Center-exposed NYC firefighters face increased cancer risk
In the largest cancer study of firefighters ever conducted, research published in this week's Sept.

Scientists observe smallest atomic displacements ever
An international team of scientists has developed a novel X-ray technique for imaging atomic displacements in materials with unprecedented accuracy.

GEN reports on advances in DNA vaccine delivery and production
Scientists involved in DNA vaccine research are currently focused on two major issues: the creation of effective delivery systems and the development of more efficient biomanufacturing strategies, reports Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN).

Cornell physicists capture microscopic origins of thinning and thickening fluids
In things thick and thin: Cornell physicists explain how fluids -- such as paint or paste -- behave by observing how micron-sized suspended particles dance in real time.

Two genes that cause familial ALS shown to work together
Although several genes have been linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), it is still unknown how they cause this progressive neurodegenerative disease.

Insect gut microbe with a molecular iron reservoir
Max Planck researchers from Jena and Tuebingen, Germany, elucidated the structure of an enzyme from Microbacterium arborescens able to accumulate several hundred iron ions, depending on the iron supply situation in its environment: for example in the larval gut of the Beet Armyworm Spodoptera exigua.

The geophysicist's guide to striking it rich
Combining a number of surveying techniques for the first time, Prof.

Southern Rocky Mountain pikas holding their own, says new CU-Boulder assessment
American pikas, the chirpy, potato-sized denizens of rocky debris in mountain ranges and high plateaus in western North America, are holding their own in the Southern Rocky Mountains, says a new University of Colorado Boulder study.

Dr. Kishore Pochiraju of Stevens co-authors book on polymeric matrix composites
To help engineers design longer-lasting high-performance plastics, the forthcoming book, Long-Term Durability of Polymeric Matrix Composites, presents a holistic guide to environmental degradation, damage evolution, design, and application specific issues of long term structural durability.

Cryogenic catering truck comes to the ALMA observatory
The superconducting receivers of ALMA's telescopes in the Chilean Andes now have their own cryogenic catering service -- a customized truck, inspired by airline catering vehicles, that cuts maintenance disruptions to the upcoming astronomy schedule and greatly reduces ALMA's carbon footprint.

Cryptococcus infections misdiagnosed in many AIDS patients
Most AIDS patients, when diagnosed with a fungal infection known simply as cryptococcosis, are assumed to have an infection with Cryptococcus neoformans, but a study from Duke University Medical Center suggests that a sibling species, Cryptococcus gattii, is a more common cause than was previously known.

Warming streams could be the end for salmon
Warming streams could spell the end of spring-run Chinook salmon in California by the end of the century, according to a study by scientists at UC Davis, the Stockholm Environment Institute and the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

West coast log, lumber exports soar in first half of 2011
A total of 569.2 million board feet of softwood logs and 232.2 million board feet of softwood lumber were exported from the West coast in April, May and June, according to the US Forest Service's Pacific Northwest (PNW) Research Station.

Caltech team says sporulation may have given rise to the bacterial outer membrane
Bacteria can generally be divided into two classes: those with just one membrane and those with two.

ONR officials to examine challenges of creating a diverse workforce at World Leadership Summit
Senior officials from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) will join other industry leaders at the World Diversity Leadership Summit 2011 in New York City, Sept.

Fibrous stroma associated with poor prognosis in lung squamous cell carcinoma
The nature of the connective tissue surrounding lung cancer nests can help predict the aggressiveness of squamous cell carcinoma, according to research published in the September issue of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, the official publication of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC).

Crippling condition associated with diabetes is often misdiagnosed and misunderstood
New journal article explains symptoms and treatments for Charcot foot, a form of localized osteoporosis linked to diabetes that causes the bones to soften and break, often resulting in amputation.

Lancet Editorial: The 10th Anniversary of 9/11 should be about those who died
An Editorial in this week's 9/11 Special Issue says the anniversary should be about those who lost their lives in the attacks.

Sight fails when defective eye cells cripple renewal
In the rare eye disease, Enhanced S-Cone Syndrome, the retina degenerates because light-receiving cells fail to regenerate, research led by a student at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine shows.

Ben-Gurion U. researchers identify gene that leads to myopia (nearsightedness)
Despite decades of intensive research, the specific genes whose defects lead to nearsightedness have remained elusive.he defective gene was identified in a thorough study of severe early-onset myopia that is common in a specific Bedouin tribe in southern Israel.

The battle of the morphogens: How to get ahead in the nervous system
If you think today's political rhetoric is overheated, imagine what goes on inside a vertebrate embryo.

Key function of mutation in hereditary breast and ovarian cancer gene discovered
It is widely known that mutations in the breast cancer susceptibility 1 (BRCA1) gene significantly increase the chance of developing breast and ovarian cancers, but the mechanisms at play are not fully understood.

Signs of aging may be linked to undetected blocked brain blood vessels
Tiny blocked brain vessels may be the cause of many common signs associated with older age.

Researchers report new understanding of role of telomeres in tumor growth
The first report of the presence of alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) in cancers arising from the bladder, cervix, endometrium, esophagus, gallbladder, liver, and lung was published today in The American Journal of Pathology.

ASCB's online image library wins 'Labby' Readers' Choice Website Award from the Scientist'
The American Society for Cell Biology's (ASCB) online library of downloadable cell images has won

Structural Genomics Project creates blueprint for infectious disease and biodefense research
The September issue of the scientific journal Acta Crystallographica: Structural Biology and Crystallization Communications consists entirely of work done at the Seattle Structural Genomics Center for Infectious Disease (SSGCID).

Radiologists urged to study federal regulations relating to meaningful use
Authors of a study in the Sept. issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology say, with an estimated $1.5 billion in potential bonus payments for radiology professionals at stake, radiologists should study and respond to recent federal regulations related to meaningful use of complete certified ambulatory electronic health records and their equivalents.

Lincoln Park Zoo applauds government decision to consider reclassifying chimpanzees as endangered
Lincoln Park Zoo applauds the federal government's announcement today that it will evaluate a petition to list chimpanzees living in the United States as an endangered species.

NASA sees Katia become second Atlantic Hurricane
The second Atlantic Ocean Hurricane was born today, Sept. 1 as Katia strengthened from a tropical storm in the central Atlantic.

First long-term study of WTC workers shows widespread health problems 10 years after Sept. 11
In the first long-term study of the health impacts of the World Trade Center (WTC) collapse on Sept.

2 brain halves, 1 perception
Max Planck researchers show how communication between brain hemispheres determines individual's subjective experience.

Orchestrator of waste removal rescues cells that can't manage their trash
Now, a new study published by Cell Press on Sept.

Lung cancer ALK rearrangement may predict pemetrexed efficacy, study shows
Patients with ALK-rearranged non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) responded significantly better to pemetrexed (brand name: Alimta) than patients whose cancer did not show ALK translocation, according to research published in the September issue of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, the official publication of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC).

VCU receives grants to advance digital computing
Virginia Commonwealth University has received two grants totaling $1.75 million from the National Science Foundation and the Nanoelectronics Research Initiative of the Semiconductor Research Corporation to create energy-efficient computing devices with even more processing power packed in a chip -- potentially cutting out the need for battery-run computer circuits in the future.

Activating your ABCs might help prevent AD (Alzheimer disease)
Alzheimer disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia among older people.

RIT conducts flood mapping of New York's hard hit Schoharie County
The New York State Office of Emergency Management is using imagery of the widespread flooding from Tropical Storm Irene in Schoharie County captured by Rochester Institute of Technology and Kucera International Inc.

Profiler at the cellular level
Researchers led by ETH professor Yaakov Benenson and MIT professor Ron Weiss have successfully incorporated a diagnostic biological

Student complaints of lackluster learning? The key to quelling boredom is within, grasshopper
'I'm bored.' It's a line that parents likely hear throughout the year.

Decrease in smoking reduces death rates within months
A study by the University of Liverpool has found that a decrease in smoking rapidly reduces mortality rates in individuals and entire populations within six months.

JCI online early table of contents: Sept. 1, 2011
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Sept.

Increased prevalence of stroke hospitalizations seen in teens and young adults
Ischemic stroke hospitalization rates in adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 44 increased up to 37% between 1995 and 2008 according to a study conducted by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Experts offer pointers for optimizing radiation dose in chest CT
An article in the September issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology summarizes methods for radiation dose optimization in chest computed tomography (CT) scans.

Living with parents in adult life can prolong family conflict
Researchers from the University of La Laguna have monitored 240 bi-parent families to observe the impact involved when children continue living in the family home during their late teens and early twenties (18 to 25 years old).

From a flat mirror, designer light
Exploiting a novel technique called phase discontinuity, researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have induced light rays to behave in a way that defies the centuries-old laws of reflection and refraction.

European Congress on Osteoporosis & Osteoarthritis opens online registration
Key international experts in the bone field are to be featured speakers and session leaders at the upcoming European Congress on Osteoporosis & Osteoarthritis (IOF-ECCEO12).

Alzheimer's brains found to have lower levels of key protein
Researchers have found that a protein variation linked by some genetic studies to Alzheimer's disease is consistently present in the actual brains of people with Alzheimer's.

Joining the dots: mutation-mechanism-disease
Individuals with an autoinflammatory syndrome experience episodes of prolonged fever and inflammation in the absence of infection.

Tree-killing pathogen traced back to California
California has emerged as the top suspect as the source of a pathogen responsible for a global pandemic of cypress canker disease.

Language speed vs. efficiency: Is faster better?
A recent study of the speech information rate of seven languages concludes that there is considerable variation in the speed at which languages are spoken, but much less variation in how efficiently languages communicate the same information.

Dendritic cells in liver protect against acetaminophen toxicity
NYU School of Medicine researchers have discovered that dendritic cells in the liver have a protective role against the toxicity of acetaminophen, the widely used over-the-counter pain reliever and fever reducer for adults and children.

New study findings reveal US high school science standards in genetics are 'inadequate'
A new study by the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG), the country's leading genetics scientific society, found that more than 85 percent of states have genetics standards that are inadequate for preparing America's high school students for participation in a society and health care system that will be increasingly impacted by genetics-based personalized medicine.

McMaster study finds more gut reaction to arthritis drugs
A team from the Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute has found stomach acid-reducing drugs, known as proton pump inhibitors, may actually be aggravating damage in the small intestine caused by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, also known as NSAIDs.

Increased resistance training does not benefit cardiac rehabilitation patients
For patients undergoing rehabilitation following cardiac events, aerobic exercise training (AT) is widely recommended.

Forests under threat from exotic earthworm invasion
A recent study by Dara Seidl and Peter Klepeis of Colgate University in New York traces the ways in which humans are the principal agents of dispersal of exotic earthworms in the forests of Northern America.

9/11 mortality study shows that, so far, World Trade Center-exposed rescue workers and
A study assessing mortality from all causes in 9/11 NYC World Trade Center survivors shows that, so far, exposed rescue workers and civilians have lower death rates than a comparable sample of the New York City population.

Sex hormones impact career choices
Teacher, pilot, nurse or engineer? Sex hormones strongly influence people's interests, which affect the kinds of occupations they choose, according to psychologists.

Perception of facial expressions differs across cultures
Facial expressions have been called the

Genetics meets metabolomics
An international team of scientists have identified several associations between genetic variants and specific metabolic changes.

Social media expert explores dynamics of online networking
Dr. Cindy Shen, social media expert and assistant professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, published an article exploring the dynamics of online communities.

Hospitals encouraged to consider value-added service of hospital-based radiology groups
Hospital executives should consider the value-added services of hospital-based radiology groups before allowing radiology departments to be taken over by teleradiologists or other specialists, according to an article in the September 2011 issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Habit makes bad food too easy to swallow
Do you always get popcorn at the movies? Or snack while you're on the couch watching television?

Signs of aging may be linked to undetected blocked brain blood vessels
Many common signs of aging, such as shaking hands, stooped posture and walking slower, may be due to tiny blocked vessels in the brain that can't be detected by current technology.

New map shows where tastes are coded in the brain
Each taste, from sweet to salty, is sensed by a unique set of neurons in the brains of mice, new research reveals.

UT MD Anderson scientists discover secret life of chromatin
Chromatin -- the intertwined histone proteins and DNA that make up chromosomes -- constantly receives messages that pour in from a cell's intricate signaling networks: Turn that gene on.

To clear digital waste in computers, 'think green,' researchers say
A digital dumping ground lies inside most computers, a wasteland where old, rarely used and unneeded files pile up.

Suicide bombs in Iraq have killed at least 12,000 civilians and
The devastating impact of suicide bombs on both Iraqi civilians and coalition troops is detailed in an Article in this week's 9/11 special issue of The Lancet.

Tropical Depression 8E's remnants still hug Mexican coastline
An infrared satellite look at Tropical Depression 8E along the Mexican coast shows that the storm became more disorganized in the last 24 hours, and is now a remnant low pressure area.

Aging eyes linked to sleepless nights, new study shows
A natural yellowing of the eye lens that absorbs blue light has been linked to sleep disorders in a group of test volunteers.

Online activity grows in a similar pattern to those of real-life networks
The activity of online communities does not grow in line with the number of users, according to a model recently published in the European Physical Journal B.

ASTRO, Gilda's Club South Florida join to promote cancer survivorship
As part of an initiative to give back to the cancer communities in the cities visited during its annual scientific meetings, the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) is partnering with Gilda's Club South Florida to raise awareness of cancer survivorship issues.

An 'unconventional' path to correcting cystic fibrosis
Researchers have identified an unconventional path that may correct the defect underlying cystic fibrosis, according to a report in the Sept.

Insomnia costing US workforce $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity, study shows
Insomnia is costing the average US worker 11.3 days, or $2,280 in lost productivity every year, according to a new study considered to be more accurate than previous estimates.

Smart phones know when rivers rise...with USGS WaterAlert
You can receive a text or email from the USGS when waters are rising in rivers and streams near you.

Yale scientists find stem cells that tell hair it's time to grow
Yale researchers have discovered the source of signals that trigger hair growth, an insight that may lead to new treatments for baldness.

New HIV vaccine approach targets desirable immune cells
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School have demonstrated an approach to HIV vaccine design that uses an altered form of HIV's outer coating or envelope protein.

US Army battlefield ethics training programme reduced self-reported mistreatment of civilians in
An Article in this week's 9/11 Special Issue of The Lancet shows that, during deployment in Iraq, leader-led battlefield ethics training positively influenced soldiers' understanding of how to interact with and treat non-combatants, and reduced reports of ethical misconduct.

Researchers successfully perform first injection of cultured red blood cells in human donor
For the first time, researchers have successfully injected cultured red blood cells (cRBCs) created from human hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) into a human donor, according to study results published today in Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology (ASH).

Infants trained to concentrate show added benefits
The findings reported online on Sept. 1 in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, are in contrast to reports in adults showing that training at one task generally doesn't translate into improved performance on other, substantially different tasks.

Digital quantum simulator realized
The physicists of the University of Innsbruck and the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) in Innsbruck have come considerably closer to their goal to investigate complex phenomena in a model system: They have realized a digital, and therefore, universal quantum simulator in their laboratory, which can, in principle, simulate any physical system efficiently.

UCSB physicists demonstrate the quantum von Neumann architecture
A new paradigm in quantum information processing has been demonstrated by physicists at UC Santa Barbara.

Exercise boosts health by influencing stem cells to become bone, not fat, McMaster researchers find
McMaster researchers have found one more reason to exercise: working out triggers influential stem cells to become bone instead of fat, improving overall health by boosting the body's capacity to make blood.

ATS publishes clinical practice guidelines on interpretation of FENO levels
The American Thoracic Society has issued the first-ever guidelines on the use of fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FENO) that address when to use FENO and how to interpret FENO levels in different clinical settings.

Starving inflammatory immune cells slows damage caused by multiple sclerosis
In a paper published today in the journal Scientific Reports, a pair of researchers at the University of California, San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences report that inhibiting the ability of immune cells to use fatty acids as fuel measurably slows disease progression in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis (MS).

University of Nevada, Reno engineering students to bring energy research into K-12 classrooms
Graduate students at the University of Nevada, Reno will working with middle and high school teachers to present their energy-related science and engineering research to students.

Feeding cows natural plant extracts can reduce dairy farm odors and feed costs
With citizens' groups seeking government regulation of foul-smelling ammonia emissions from large dairy farms, scientists today reported that adding natural plant extracts to cow feed can reduce levels of the gas by one-third while reducing the need to fortify cow feed with expensive protein supplements.

Persistent immunity: Wistar researchers find signals that preserve anti-viral antibodies
How does our remarkable immune system retain the ability to defend against viruses previously encountered?

Glowing, blinking bacteria reveal how cells synchronize biological clocks
Biologists have long known that organisms from bacteria to humans use the 24 hour cycle of light and darkness to set their biological clocks.

Alcohol dulls brain 'alarm' that monitors mistakes, MU study finds
A new study testing alcohol's effects on brain activity from the University of Missouri says that alcohol dulls the brain

Faster diagnostics through cheap, ultra-portable blood testing
Current blood testing procedures are expensive and time-consuming, while sophisticated test equipment is bulky and difficult to transport.

Economic analysis reveals organic farming profitable long-term
In an analysis of 18 years of crop yield and farm management data from a long-term University of Minnesota trial, an organic crop rotation was consistently more profitable and carried less risk of low returns than conventional corn and soybean production, even when organic prime premiums were cut by half.

New half-match bone marrow transplant procedure yields promising outcomes for cancer patients
Half-matched bone marrow or stem cell transplants for blood cancer patients have typically been associated with disappointing clinical outcomes.

Hubble movies reveal solar-system-sized traffic jams
Using Hubble Space Telescope images, Rice University astronomer Patrick Hartigan has created time-lapse movies that offer astronomers their first glimpse of the dynamic behavior of stellar jets, huge torrents of gas and particles that spew from the poles of newborn stars. 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