Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 14, 2011
Good news plus lingering concerns for Deepwater Horizon cleanup workers
Several new studies of air and water near the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill conclude that cleanup workers may have escaped harm from one of the most worrisome groups of potentially toxic substances in the oil, according to an article in Chemical & Engineering News (CEN), ACS's weekly news magazine.

Chronic vulvar pain a reality for more than 100,000 women in southeast Michigan
A new study from the University of Michigan, which surveyed 2,269 women in the metro Detroit area, found that more than 25 percent of women have experienced ongoing vulvar pain at some point in their lives.

Men with testicular cancer benefit by writing positively about the experience, Baylor study finds
Men who channeled positive thoughts into a five-week writing assignment about their testicular cancer showed signs of improved mental health afterward, in contrast to men who wrote negatively or neutrally about their condition, according to results of a Baylor University pilot study.

TUM scientists document aquatic species decline at dams and weirs
Dams and weirs have a stronger impact on watercourse ecosystems than was previously realized.

Exome sequencing: Defining hereditary deafness
New research published in Genome Biology regarding hereditary deafness has identified six critical genetic mutations in Israeli Jewish and Palestinian Arab families.

Press registration for ERS Congress
Last chance to register for the world's largest scientific meeting for respiratory medicine: the annual European Respiratory Society Congress in Amsterdam, 24-28 Sept.

Iowa State chemists help astronauts make sure their drinking water is clean
Researchers from Iowa State University and the US Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have developed chemistry and procedures that astronauts can use to test the quality of their drinking water at the International Space Station.

Turning waste into inexpensive, green fuel
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside's Center for Environmental Research and Technology at the Bourns College of Engineering have received two grants to further explore a process they developed that turns waste into inexpensive, green fuels.

Newborn dinosaur discovered in Maryland
No, this isn't Jurassic Park. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine with help from an amateur fossil hunter in College Park, Md., have described the fossil of an armored dinosaur hatchling.

Water evaporated from trees cools global climate
Scientists have long debated about the impact on global climate of water evaporated from vegetation.

University of Southampton student awarded 2011 Young Scholar by Marconi Society
An engineering researcher from the University of Southampton's Optoelectronics Research Centre was honoured this week at the prestigious Marconi Society Awards in San Diego, California.

Small bowel transplant, Crohn's experts from around the world hosted by Georgetown
Experts in small bowel disorders and transplant from around the world present the latest science, research and treatments, including a late-breaking abstract on the identification of a pathway that explains why Crohn's patients with a gene mutation have a higher incidence of organ rejection.

MARC Travel Awards announced for the 2011 American Society of Human Genetics Annual Meeting
FASEB MARC (Minority Access to Research Careers) Program has announced the travel award recipients for the 2011 American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) Annual Meeting in Montreal, Quebec, Canada from Oct.

Searchers map the global spread of drug-resistant influenza
In the new movie

The remarkable history of medicine's battle with infectious diseases
For those fascinated by microbes, infection, or how medical discoveries shape our modern understanding,

AMIA advises FDA on clinical decision support
AMIA advises the US Food and Drug Administration on the agency's prosposed oversight of mobile medical applications.

UF study names new ancient crocodile relative from the land of Titanoboa
Did an ancient crocodile relative give the world's largest snake a run for its money?

East Texas town unfairly branded as racist after 1998 hate crime, Baylor University study finds
As the Sept. 21 execution date looms for a man convicted for his role in chaining and dragging a black man to his death, attention will be focused on the East Texas town of Jasper, vilified worldwide as racist after the 1998 murder.

Sea smarts: Scientists reconstruct evolutionary history of mollusks
Using genomics and computational approaches, scientists have reconstructed the evolutionary history of the entire phylum Molluscsa, which includes more than 100,000 living species, ranging from giant squid to microscopic marine creatures.

IDIBELL researchers discover a treatment against an aggressive childhood cancer
A study made by IDIBELL researchers shows that glucose metabolism inhibition with 2-deoxyglucose (2-DG) induces cell death in a type of childhood sarcoma: alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma.

Computerized anxiety therapy found helpful in small trial
An emerging therapy known as cognitive bias modification, in which software helps subjects divert attention away from anxiety and interpret situations more calmly, helped improve social anxiety disorder symptoms in a pilot-scale randomized controlled trial.

International medical bodies join forces to call for doctors to lead on tackling alcohol misuse
Ahead of next week's UN Summit on Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) in New York, a group of international medical bodies has issued a consensus statement calling on doctors to take the lead on tackling alcohol misuse both in their daily practice and by speaking out and demanding action from governments who have done little to address the enormous harms caused by excess alcohol.

Hitchhiking snails fly from ocean to ocean
Smithsonian scientists and colleagues report that snails successfully crossed Central America, long considered an impenetrable barrier to marine organisms, twice in the past million years -- both times probably by flying across Mexico, stuck to the legs or riding on the bellies of shorebirds and introducing new genes that contribute to the marine biodiversity on each coast.

Good news for rural stroke patients: Virtual stroke care appears cost-effective
In a first of its kind study, researchers have found that using two way audio-video telemedicine to deliver stroke care, also known as telestroke, appears to be cost-effective for rural hospitals that don't have an around-the-clock neurologist, or stroke expert, on staff.

Wayne State University partners with Toyota on safety research
Two Wayne State University research groups have teamed up with the Toyota Technical Center, a division of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc.

Cowpox virus: Old friend but new foe
Recent findings from an international consortium including the group of Norbert Nowotny at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna suggest that smallpox vaccines come from central or eastern Europe.

Screen finds an antidepressant and other drugs
Resarchers report that they have found several chemical compounds, including an antidepressant, that have powerful effects against brain-destroying prion infections in mice, opening the door to potential treatments for human prion diseases.

Old-growth rainforests must be saved for tropical biodiversity
A team of researchers from Singapore, Australia, Switzerland, the UK and the USA has carried out a comprehensive assessment to estimate the impact of disturbance and land conversion on biodiversity in tropical forests.

Feared spinal X-ray found to be safe, study shows
Medical imaging experts at Johns Hopkins have reviewed the patient records of 302 men and women who had a much-needed X-ray of the blood vessels near the spinal cord and found that the procedure, often feared for possible complications of stroke and kidney damage, is safe and effective.

Self-delusion is a winning survival strategy, study suggests
Harboring a mistakenly inflated belief that we can easily meet challenges or win conflicts is actually good for us, a new study suggests.

Genetics, lifestyle provide clues to racial differences in head and neck cancer
Why are African Americans more likely than Caucasians to be not only diagnosed with head and neck cancer, but also die from the disease?

Some smokers successfully switch to electronic cigarettes
While electronic cigarettes may be a long-term alternative to the real thing for some smokers, Penn State College of Medicine researchers suggest medical providers should continue to encourage more traditional smoking cessation methods.

'Super-spaghetti' with heart-healthy label now possible
Consumers could soon see packages of pasta labeled 'good source of dietary fiber' and 'may reduce the risk of heart disease' thanks to the development of a new genre of pasta made with barley -- a grain famous for giving beer its characteristic strength and flavor.

When it comes to college hookups, more is said than done
College students talk a lot about hooking up -- in fact, they talk about it much more than it actually happens, and they believe other students are having the encounters more often than they really are.

How do political debates affect advertising?
Advertisers covet spots during political debates, which often draw large numbers of viewers.

New research will help combat antibiotic resistance problems in Africa
A University of Copenhagen Ph.D. student has developed a new chemical analysis technique that will help combat antibiotic resistance.

TV found to have negative impact on parent-child communication and literacy
Since the first television screens lit up our living rooms scientists have been studying its affect on young children.

Researchers analyze the evolving human relationship with fire
Humanity's relationship to fire -- including wildfires, burning of fossil fuels, controlled burns and human-caused fire -- is the focus of a report by an international team of scientists.

Harvard researchers launch healthy eating plate
Nutrition experts at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) in conjunction with colleagues at Harvard Health Publications have unveiled the Healthy Eating Plate, a visual guide that provides a blueprint for eating a healthy meal.

Opportunity on verge of new discovery
The Mars rover Opportunity, which was designed to operate for three months and to rove less than a mile, has now journeyed more than seven years crossing more than 21 miles.

New study quantifies use of social media in Arab Spring
After analyzing more than three million tweets, gigabytes of YouTube content and thousands of blog posts, a new study finds that social media played a central role in shaping political debates in the Arab Spring.

New technology for recovering valuable minerals from waste rock
Researchers report discovery of a completely new technology for more efficiently separating gold, silver, copper, and other valuable materials from rock and ore.

Could an apple a day keep sepsis away?
Sepsis kills more people than breast, colorectal, pancreatic, and prostate cancers combined.

Accidental sea turtle deaths drop 90 percent in US fisheries
The number of sea turtles accidentally caught and killed in fishing gear in United States coastal waters has declined by an estimated 90 percent since 1990, according to a new study by researchers at Duke University Project GloBAL and Conservation International.

NTU opens $120 million centre to harness powers of biofilms
The Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering (SCELSE), aims to achieve innovative solutions through the study of microbial biofilms.

Milky Way's spiral arms are the product of an intergalactic collision course
UC Irvine astronomers have shown how the Milky Way galaxy's iconic spiral arms form, according to research published today in the journal Nature.

MARC Travel Awards announced for the 2011 Environmental Mutagen Society Annual Meeting
FASEB MARC (Minority Access to Research Careers) Program has announced the travel award recipients for the 2011 Environmental Mutagen Society (EMS) Annual Meeting in Montreal, Quebec, Canada from Oct.

Revolutionary changes to the Botanical Code published in 16 journals and 5 languages
Important changes to publication of new names in algae, fungi, and plants, accepted by the XVIII International Botanical Congress, are detailed in a paper that is being published or will be published soon in a total of sixteen leading academic journals.

The cause of Earth's largest environmental catastrophe
Siberian traps show that composition of mantle plume material is the key.

Daily deal companies are here to stay, according to consumers
Despite recent news reports questioning the long-term viability of daily deal companies, a new study from researchers at Rice University and Cornell University shows that the companies are more popular than ever among consumers.

Being in the 'no': questions influence what we remember
Imagine that you are sitting in the park, deeply engaged in a conversation with your loved one.

3D television without glasses
When the boundaries merge between the action and the viewer, television becomes a special experience.

'Partner abuse is normal' say disadvantaged youth
The levels of violence girls and boys from disadvantaged backgrounds experience in their partner relationships is revealed in new University of Bristol research published today.

ASPB Education Foundation awards grants for plant science outreach
The American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) Education Foundation has awarded $105,700 to four recipients of its annual grants program.

Clemson researchers using interactive vision tool for driving studies
Researchers at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research and the psychology department have partnered with Perceptual Testing Inc. of San Diego to study the relationship between visual function, muscular coordination and driving.

Engineers probe mechanics behind rapid-aging disease
Pulling the tail of mutated protein could help illuminate problems with misfolding.

When do products (and money) literally make your mouth water?
In certain situations, people actually salivate when they desire material things, like money and sports cars, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

ORNL invention unravels mystery of protein folding
An ORNL invention able to quickly predict three-dimensional structure of protein could have huge implications for drug discovery and human health.

Culturally symbolic products: Would you buy a Sony cappuccino maker?
Certain brands bring to mind particular cultures, and consumers react more positively to brand extensions when products match expectations about cultures, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Older women lack important information about sexual health
Many women over 50 years old date and are sexually active and thereby face many possible health risks.

Buck Institute and Biotica to investigate polyketides in extension of healthy lifespan
The Buck Institute for Research on Aging and Biotica Technology Ltd. today announced a three-year collaboration to investigate polyketides in diseases of aging.

Bringing botany into the 21st Century
Details of the forthcoming changes to the newly-named 'International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi and plants' are laid out by Dr Sandra Knapp and colleagues in an article published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology.

A cut above the Eiffel Tower
Vladimir G. Shukhov, one of the most ingenious engineers of the 19th and early 20th centuries, developed revolutionary construction techniques.

Diagnosing hearing loss at a fraction of the time and cost
Prof. Karen Avraham of Tel Aviv University used

24-week hepatitis C treatment as effective as 48-week treatment
A new study, conducted in part at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, finds that a 24-week triple medication treatment course for hepatitis C is just as effective as a 48-week regimen.

Scientists crack sparse genome of microbe linked to autoimmunity
Scientists have deciphered the genome of a bacterium implicated as a key player in regulating the immune system of mice.

This beetle uses eggs as shields against wasps
Seed beetles often will stack their eggs, using them as shields to protect the bottom egg from attacks by parasitic wasps, reveals new research by doctoral candidate Joseph Deas in the UA's Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Entomology and Insect Science.

Nearly $1 billion in economic activity in California generated by Sandia in 2010
Sandia National Laboratories generated nearly $1 billion in both direct and indirect economic output in the state of California in 2010 with nearly half coming from the San Francisco Bay Area, according to a new report prepared by the Center for Economic Development at California State University-Chico.

Researchers develop mouse genetic blueprint
An international team of researchers has decoded and compared the genome sequence of 17 mouse strains, developing a valuable mouse genetic blueprint that will accelerate future research and understanding of human genetics.

Downwardly mobile: When consumer decisions are influenced by people with lower socioeconomic status
People assume that consumers are influenced by celebrities and high-status individuals, but according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, it may be the janitor or the security guard who makes you want to run out and purchase the latest gadget.

Preschoolers' grasp of numbers predicts math performance in school years
A new study published today in the journal PLoS ONE reports that the precision with which preschoolers estimate quantities, prior to any formal education in mathematics, predicts their mathematics ability in elementary school, according to research from the Kennedy Krieger Institute.

2011 Science in Society Awards announced
Winners of the 2011 Science in Society Awards have been selected in four categories.

Link between racial discrimination and stress described in new study
The consequences of psychological stress, resulting from racial discrimination, may contribute to racial health disparities in conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other age-associated diseases.

Feeling out of control? Consumers find comfort in boundaries
Consumers who feel a lack of control over circumstances seek boundaries -- including physical borders, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Protein discovered at LSUHSC may suppress breast cancer growth
Research led by Dr. Suresh Alahari, the Fred Brazda Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans and its Stanley S.

Study to examine direct-to-consumer drug ads on TV
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago's Institute for Health Research and Policy will conduct the first comprehensive study of televised drug commercials using Nielsen Media Research and health care utilization data.

More women dying from breast and cervical cancer at a younger age in developing countries
The number of cases and deaths from breast and cervical cancer are rising in most countries, especially in the developing world where more women are dying at younger ages, according to a new global analysis by IHME.

Consumers willing to pay premium for healthier genetically modified foods: ISU study
A study by an Iowa State University researcher shows that consumers are eager to get their hands on, and teeth into, foods that are genetically modified to increase health benefits - and even pay more for the opportunity.

Saving electricity while playing
The federal government of Germany has decided to accelerate change in energy policy.

MARC Travel Awards announced for the 2011 Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting
FASEB MARC (Minority Access to Research Careers) Program has announced the travel award recipients for the 2011 Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Annual Meeting in Hartford, CT from Oct.

Yale researchers use uterine stem cells to treat diabetes
Controlling diabetes may someday involve mining stem cells from the lining of the uterus, Yale School of Medicine researchers report in a new study published in the journal Molecular Therapy.

A prize catch
Today, Rare, in partnership with National Geographic, launched an innovative online platform dedicated to finding proven community-based solutions for marine conservation.

Report showcases success of integrated development approaches
As governments prepare to gather at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Sept.

University Hospitals Case Medical Center awarded 2011 fellowship awards for pain medicine, epilepsy
University Hospitals Case Medical Center's Division of Pain Medicine in the Department of Anesthesiology and the Epilepsy Center in the UH Neurological Institute have each received 2011 Medical & Academic Partnerships Fellowship Awards from Pfizer Inc.

Maine registered dietitian sends an SOS to Senators Collins and Snowe
In a letter to Maine's two Senators, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, prominent South Portland registered dietitian, Ms.

Scientists partner with retailers to tackle food poisoning
Scientists at the University of Liverpool are working with the major UK food retailers to reduce bacterial infections in chickens and reduce incidences of food poisoning in humans.

Woolly mammoth's secrets for shrugging off cold points toward new artificial blood for humans
The blood from woolly mammoths -- those extinct elephant-like creatures that roamed the Earth in pre-historic times -- is helping scientists develop new blood products for modern medical procedures that involve reducing patients' body temperature.

It's all about autonomy: Consumers react negatively when prompted to think about money
Whether they are aware of it or not, consumers dislike being reminded of money -- so much that they will rebel against authority figures, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Depression and pain increase fatigue in breast cancer survivors
In Spain, 5-year survival following breast cancer diagnosis is more than 83%.

The neuroscience of decision making: Deciphering how the brain chooses and decides
Researchers are beginning to decipher what exactly happens in our brains when we make decisions.

Amateur botanists in Brazil discover a genuflexing plant
A new plant species that buries its seeds -- the first in its family -- was discovered in the Atlantic forest of Bahia, Brazil, by an international team of amateur and professional scientists.

'Synthetic' chromosome permits repid, on-demand 'evolution' of yeast
In the quest to understand genomes -- how they're built, how they're organized and what makes them work -- a team of Johns Hopkins researchers has engineered from scratch a computer-designed yeast chromosome and incorporated into their creation a new system that lets scientists intentionally rearrange the yeast's genetic material.

Plant breeding revolution for cassava, banana
Cassava, banana and plantain, staple foods for millions of the world's poorest people, are notoriously difficult to breed.

New research: Milk-drinking teens reap health benefits through adulthood
Developing healthy habits like drinking milk as a teen could have a long-term effect on a woman's risk for Type 2 diabetes, according to new research in this month's issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

$1.1 million grant targets disparities among medical researchers
A Michigan State University professor is using a $1.1 million federal grant to help overcome the racial and socioeconomic disparities seen among health and medical researchers.

MARC Travel Awards announced for the 2011 SACNAS Annual Meeting
FASEB MARC (Minority Access to Research Careers) Program has announced the travel award recipients for the 2011 Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Annual Meeting in San Jose, CA from Oct.

A new MEMS device generates energy from small vibrations
The tiny energy harvester picks up a wider range of vibrations than current designs, and is able to generate 100 times the power of devices of similar size.

New American Chemical Society podcast: Toward a vaccine for methamphetamine abuse
Scientists are reporting development of three promising formulations that could be used in a vaccine to treat methamphetamine addiction -- one of the most serious drug abuse problems in the United States.

Gender, insurance type tied to HPV infection in laryngeal cancer patients
HPV is more likely to be found in tumors of laryngeal cancer patients who are male and those with private health insurance, according to a new study from researchers at Henry Ford Hospital.

Voting causes stress according to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev study
According to Prof. Hagit Cohen from the Anxiety and Stress Research Unit at BGU's Faculty of Health Sciences, 'We understand that emotional changes are related and affect various physiological processes, but we were surprised that voting in democratic elections causes emotional reactions accompanied by such physical and psychological stress that can easily influence our decision making.'

Scientists uncover how specialized pacemaker works at biological level to strengthen failing hearts
Heart specialists at Johns Hopkins have figured out how a widely used pacemaker for heart failure, which makes both sides of the heart beat together to pump effectively, works at the biological level.

Shorter treatment with hepatitis C drug combination may be more beneficial, study shows
University of Cincinnati research published in the Sept. 14, 2011, advance online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine shows that patients with hepatitis C who took a combination medication -- a telaprevir-based regimen that is commonly used to treat the illness -- for 24 weeks were cured.

Something odd is happening with Namibia's weather
Something's up with the weather in Namibia, say geoscientists Kyle Nichols of Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and Paul Bierman of the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vt.

Investigating the spread of infectious diseases with NSF, NIH, UK funding
New research aimed at controlling the transmission of diseases among humans, other animals and the environment is being made possible by grants from a collaboration among US and UK funding agencies.

Sickle cell trait is not risk factor for kidney disease
Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center report that sickle cell trait is not a risk factor for the development of severe kidney disease in African-Americans.

Study: Campus smoking ban reduced students' smoking, changed attitudes
Smoking bans have become more common on university campuses, but do they work?

IADR/AADR publish proceedings from the AADR Fall Focused Symposium on Salivary Diagnostics
The International and American Associations for Dental Research have published the proceedings from the 3rd AADR Fall Focused Symposium themed,

Elevated cholesterol levels: Benefit of ezetimibe is not proven
Elevated blood cholesterol levels are regarded as a risk factor for heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases.

First global analysis of breast and cervical cancer estimates 2 million new cases worldwide
The number of new cases of breast cancer diagnosed worldwide has risen dramatically from about 640 000 in 1980 to 1•6 million in 2010. 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