Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 22, 2011
Limits for mountain trail use identified
A new study on human impact to wildlife in some of Canada's most popular national parks has identified limits at which trails can be used before ecological disturbance takes place.

Close up look at a microbial vaccination program
Berkeley Lab researchers, using a combination of cryo-electron microscopy and 3-D image reconstruction, determined the structure of Cascade, a protein complex that plays a key role in the microbial immune system by detecting and inactivating the nucleic acid of invading pathogens.

From the comfort of home, Web users may have found new planets
Since the online citizen science project Planet Hunters launched last December, 40,000 Web users from around the world have been helping professional astronomers analyze the light from 150,000 stars in the hopes of discovering Earth-like planets orbiting around them.

Novel technique reveals both gene number and protein expression simultaneously
Researchers have discovered a method to simultaneously measure gene number and protein expression in individual cells.

DNA study suggests Asia was settled in multiple waves of migration
An international team of researchers studying DNA patterns from modern and archaic humans has found that the Denisovans, a recently discovered hominin group, contributed genes to several populations in Asia and that modern humans settled Asia in more than one migration.

Fluid equilibrium in prehistoric organisms sheds light on a turning point in evolution
Maintaining fluid balance in the body is essential to survival.

Lehigh University ceramics researchers shed light on metal embrittlement
Liquid metal embrittlement, or LME, has baffled metallurgists for a century.

New approach challenges old ideas about plant species and biomass
It is no longer hump day, according to new research in the current issue of the journal Science.

Rethinking gifted education policy -- a call to action
Michael Jordan, Lady Gaga and Angelina Jolie. Most people can probably name some award-winning athletes, musicians, and actors.

Virus discovery helps scientists predict emerging diseases
Fresh insight into how viruses such as SARS and flu can jump from one species to another may help scientists predict the emergence of diseases in future.

Wiley-Blackwell signs three new international open access agreements
Wiley-Blackwell, the scientific, technical, medical and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons, Inc, has signed open access funding agreements with three European research organizations: the Max Planck Society in Germany, the FWF Austrian Science Fund, and Telethon, one of the largest biomedical non-profit organizations in Italy.

1 million more children living in poverty since 2009, new census data released today shows
Between 2009 and 2010, one million more children in America joined the ranks of those living in poverty, bringing the total to an estimated 15.7 million poor children in 2010, an increase of 2.6 million since the recession began in 2007, according to researchers from the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire.

UCLA scientists find H1N1 flu virus prevalent in animals in Africa
UCLA life scientists have discovered the first evidence of the H1N1 virus in animals in Africa.

Error rate higher in breast imaging reports generated by automatic speech recognition
Breast imaging reports generated using an automatic speech recognition system are nearly six times more likely to contain major errors than those generated with conventional dictation transcription, a new study in Canada shows.

Aboriginal Australians: The first explorers
An international team of researchers has for the first time sequenced the genome of a man who was an Aboriginal Australian.

Singing after stroke? Why rhythm and formulaic phrases may be more important than melody
Patients with serious speech disorders are often able to sing complete texts.

Scientists probe Indian Ocean for clues to worldwide weather patterns
An international team of researchers will begin gathering in the Indian Ocean next month to study an atmospheric pattern that affects weather worldwide.

Bioengineers reprogram muscles to combat degeneration
UC Berkeley researchers have turned back the clock on mature muscle tissue, coaxing it back to an earlier stem cell stage to form new muscle.

ORNL discovers amazing electrical properties in polymers
Crystals and ceramics pale when compared to a material researchers discovered that has 10 times their piezoelectric effect, making it suitable for perhaps hundreds of everyday uses.

Award-winning book on tarpon features chapter by University of Miami's Ault
Sport fishing for tarpon is a $6 billion industry in the US alone.

Newly identified antibodies may improve pneumonia vaccine design
Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have discovered how a novel type of antibody works against pneumococcal bacteria.

Aboriginal Australians: The first explorers
In an exciting development, an international team of researchers have, for the first time, pieced together the human genome from an Aboriginal Australian.

Patented method transforms digital cameras for aerial color infrared photography
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and David Linden, a technical consultant currently serving as a chief scientist at Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) in McLean, Va., have jointly patented technology that transforms commercial digital cameras to color infrared cameras for aerial photography.

University of Kentucky spinoff licensed to develop Alzheimer's treatment
CoPlex Therapeutics has signed an exclusive global license agreement with Hawthorn Pharmaceuticals to develop and commercialize hawAD14, a preclinical oral small molecule candidate for the treatment of Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Researchers greatly improve evolutionary Tree of Life for mammals
An international research team led by biologists at the University of California, Riverside and Texas A&M University has released for the first time a large and robust DNA matrix that has representation for all mammalian families.

Cellular origin of a rare form of breast cancer identified
Identifying the cellular origins of breast cancer might lead to earlier diagnosis and more efficient management of the disease.

New human protein targets for the control of HIV are predicted using computational analysis
A new computational approach has predicted numerous human proteins that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) requires to replicate itself, and

Stanford engineers create nanoscale nonlinear light source
By harnessing plasmonics to intensify light, engineers at Stanford have created an ultra-compact nonlinear light source that shrinks a large-scale, high-energy device to the nanoscale with research implications ranging from data communications to a better understanding of fundamental science.

Scientists observe how superconducting nanowires lose resistance-free state
Physicists have measured the temperatures at which collections of electrons build up enough heat to force regions along superconducting aluminum nanowires to switch to a non-superconducting state.

Zebras vs. cattle: Not so black-and-white
African ranchers often prefer to keep wild grazers like zebras off the grass that fattens their cattle.

Time to stop giving toxic drugs to kidney transplant patients?
A new analysis has found that transplant patients can safely minimize or avoid using calcineurin inhibitors.

Solar activity can affect re-entry of UARS satellite
The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) is headed toward earth-but it hasn't been easy to precisely determine the path and pace of UARS because space itself changes over time -- in response to incoming energy and particles from the sun.

Decoding vaccination: Mayo researchers reveal genetic underpinnings of response to measles vaccine
Researchers at Mayo Clinic are hacking the genetic code that controls the human response to disease vaccination, and they are using this new cipher to answer many of the deep-seated questions that plague vaccinology, including why patients respond so differently to identical vaccines and how to minimize the side effects to vaccination.

Zebras vs. cattle: Not so black and white
African ranchers often prefer to keep wild grazers like zebra off the grass that fattens their cattle.

Some brain wiring continues to develop well into our 20s: U of A study
The human brain doesn't stop developing at adolescence, but continues well into our 20s, demonstrates recent research from the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta.

Cancer protein's surprising role as memory regulator
Scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School have found that a common cancer protein leads a second, totally different life in normal adult brain cells: It helps regulates memory formation and may be implicated in Alzheimer's disease.

Pseudoscience of single-sex schooling examined in the journal Science
Social scientists have found that there is no well-designed research that demonstrates that single-sex schools improve student's academic performance.

Louisiana State University leads collaborative effort to identify genes supporting life in extreme conditions
In search of the genes that support life in extreme environments, researchers at Louisiana State University are core participants in a collaborative grant that has been awarded from the National Science Foundation, to sequence the genome of the Atlantic killifish Fundulus heteroclitus, a species known to have evolved extremely high tolerance to dangerous pollutants.

SDSC announces scalable, high-performance data storage cloud
The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego, today announced the launch of what is believed to be the largest academic-based cloud storage system in the US, specifically designed for researchers, students, academics, and industry users who require stable, secure, and cost-effective storage and sharing of digital information, including extremely large data sets.

First ever multi-cellular model of rare disease developed at University of Alberta
Research groups worldwide have tried to develop a simple model of a rare, fatal disease called Zellweger's syndrome but none has succeeded, until researchers at the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta did so in fruit flies.

Scientists use brain imaging to reveal the movies in our mind
Imagine tapping into the mind of a coma patient, or watching one's own dream on YouTube.

Controlling silicon evaporation allows scientists to boost graphene quality
Scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology have for the first time provided details of their

The key to lower dose CT fluoroscopy for spine injections is reducing the dose of the planning CT
The radiation dose for a CT fluoroscopy is about half that for conventional fluoroscopy to guide epidural steroid injections, however, the dose is substantially more than conventional fluoroscopy when a full lumbar planning CT scan is performed as part of the CT-guided procedure, a new study shows.

No harm to mice testes from BPA in utero
Male mice whose mothers were exposed to either moderate or high levels of bisphenol A while pregnant did not grow up to show any adverse effects to their reproductive systems by several measures, according to a new study.

University of Nevada, Reno, engineers simulate large quake on curved bridge
Six full-size pickup trucks took a wild ride on a 16-foot-high steel bridge when it shook violently in a series of never-before-conducted experiments to investigate the seismic behavior of a curved bridge with vehicles in place.

Resident conferences that focus on mistakes result in higher quality of care
Residents who attend conferences that focus on missed or misinterpreted cases are 67% less likely to miss important findings when reading on-call musculoskeletal x-ray images, a new study shows.

Experts offer solutions at ACR Imaging Informatics Summit & Radiation Dose Monitoring Forum
Top radiology and policy experts will offer solutions to critical imaging informatics and radiation dose challenges at the First Annual ACR Imaging Informatics Summit and Dose Monitoring Forum.

All-access genome: New study explores packaging of DNA
Biophysicists Marcia Levitus and Kaushik Gurunathan at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University along with their colleagues Hannah S.

Sex segregation in schools detrimental to equality
Students who attend sex-segregated schools are not necessarily better educated than students who attend coeducational schools, but they are more likely to accept gender stereotypes, according to a team of psychologists.

Nitrate levels rising in northwestern Pacific
Changes in the ratio of nitrate to phosphorus in the oceans off the coasts of Korea and Japan caused by atmospheric and riverine pollutants may influence the makeup of marine plants and influence marine ecology, according to researchers from Korea and the US.

Virus kills breast cancer cells in laboratory
A nondisease-causing virus kills human breast cancer cells in the laboratory, creating opportunities for potential new cancer therapies, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers who tested the virus on three different breast cancer types that represent the multiple stages of breast cancer development.

5 new genes affecting the risk of coronary artery disease identified by international consortium
An international consortium of scientists reports the discovery of five new genes that affect the risk of developing coronary artery disease and heart attacks in a study to be published in the open-access journal PLoS Genetics on Sept.

This month in ecological science
This month in ecological science, researchers report on evolutionary traps, the strong response of an undesirable non-native plant to elevated CO2 and the potential of new crop cultivars to meet human needs and ease environmental costs of agriculture.

What makes rainforests unique? History, not ecology
History and geology, not current ecology, are likely what has made tropical forests so variable from site to site, according to a new study published in the journal Science, co-authored by Liza Comita, research associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.

Study reveals rise in prostate biopsy complications and high post-procedure hospitalization rate
In a study of complication rates following prostate biopsy among Medicare beneficiaries, Johns Hopkins researchers have found a significant rise in serious complications requiring hospitalization.

Vitamin D deficiency linked with airway changes in children with severe asthma
Children with severe therapy-resistant asthma (STRA) may have poorer lung function and worse symptoms compared to children with moderate asthma, due to lower levels of vitamin D in their blood, according to researchers in London.

New metal hydride clusters provide insights into hydrogen storage
A study published by researchers at the RIKEN Advanced Science Institute (ASI) has shed first-ever light on a class of heterometallic molecular structures whose unique features point the way to breakthroughs in the development of lightweight fuel cell technology.

Cancer drug may also work for scleroderma
A drug used to treat cancer may also be effective in diseases that cause scarring of the internal organs or skin, such as pulmonary fibrosis or scleroderma.

Scientists probe Indian Ocean for clues to worldwide weather patterns
An international team of researchers will begin gathering in the Indian Ocean next month, using aircraft, ships, moorings, radars, numerical models and other tools to study how tropical weather brews there and moves eastward along the equator, with reverberating effects around the globe.

Radiation boost for artificial joints
A blast of gamma radiation could toughen up plastic prosthetic joints to make them strong enough to last for years, according to researchers in China writing in the current issue of the International Journal of Biomedical Engineering and Technology.

Development of a new chip for characterizing ultrafast optical pulses
Boosting up microprocessors -the heart of modern computers- at the speed of light, reducing consumptions and costs, may now be a reality thanks to the development of a new high-performance chip, the results of which have been published in Nature Photonics.

LLNL selects Madhav Marathe for the first George A. Michael Distinguished Scholar Award
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory today announced that Professor Madhav Marathe has been selected as the inaugural George A.

New study proposes public health guidelines to reduce the harms from cannabis use
A new research study conducted by an international team of experts recommends a public health approach to cannabis -- including evidence-based guidelines for lower-risk use -- to reduce the health harms that result from the use of cannabis.

Optical Materials Express focus issue: Nanoplasmonics and metamaterials
Light-matter interaction at the nanometer scale has turned into a very fast-growing field of research known as nano-optics.

Elderly breast cancer patients risk treatment discrimination
Women diagnosed with breast cancer late in life are at greater risk of dying from the disease than younger patients, assuming they survive other age-related conditions, according to analysis of results from the Tamoxifen Exemestane Adjuvant Multinational study to be presented at the 2011 European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress on Saturday.

Finding relief in ritual
Repetitive behavior can be observed in captive animals, basketball players, and patients with OCD.

Targeting HIV's sugar coating
University of Utah researchers have discovered a new class of compounds that stick to the sugary coating of the AIDS virus and inhibit it from infecting cells -- an early step toward a new treatment to prevent sexual transmission of the virus.

Cardiac rehabilitation programs benefit patients after mini or mild stroke
Cardiac rehabilitation appears to benefit patients who have had a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mild, non-disabling stroke by lowering risk factors that put them at risk for subsequent stroke.

FDA grants cardiotrophin-1 Orphan Drug status for acute liver failure treatment to Digna Biotech
Biotechnological company Digna Biotech announced that the Food and Drug Administration granted cardiotrophin-1 Orphan Drug status for use in the treatment of acute liver failure.

Bucksbaum Foundation pledges $42 million to bolster doctor-patient communication
The Matthew and Carolyn Bucksbaum Family Foundation is giving $42 million to the University of Chicago to create the Bucksbaum Institute for Clinical Excellence, a unique initiative that will focus on how to improve doctor-patient interaction.

21st century vaccines -- innovation in design and rational use
Innovation in the design of vaccines is rapidly expanding their use, safety, and effectiveness for disease prevention and therapeutic interventions.

Like fish on waves: electrons go surfing
Physicists at the RUB, working in collaboration with researchers from Grenoble and Tokyo, have succeeded in taking a decisive step towards the development of more powerful computers.

Utah biochemist Brenda L. Bass wins NIH Pioneer Award
University of Utah biochemist Brenda L. Bass has won a NIH Pioneer Award to study elusive RNA molecule's link to inflammatory diseases.

St. Michael's studies Toronto community services
Torontonians want non-profit organizations to provide programs and services in their neighborhoods that are relevant to their needs, held at convenient times and locations and have stable funding, a research study has found.

Email sexual advice study highlights problems raised by different ages and cultures
More than two-thirds of men who contacted an email advice service run by a leading sexual advice charity had erection problems, which were frequently linked to loss of sex drive.

Men and women cooperate equally for the common good
Stereotypes suggest women are more cooperative than men, but an analysis of 50 years of research shows that men are equally cooperative, particularly in situations involving a dilemma that pits the interests of an individual against the interests of a group.

Researchers greatly improve evolutionary Tree of Life for mammals
An international research team led by researchers at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) and University of California, Riverside (UCR) has released for the first time a large and robust DNA matrix that has representation for 99 percent of mammalian families, and covers the deepest divergences among all living mammals.

Opioids linked to higher risk of pneumonia in older adults
Opioids -- a class of medicines commonly given for pain -- were associated with a higher risk of pneumonia in a study of 3,061 adults, aged 65 to 94, e-published in advance of publication in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

UNC researchers identify important step in sperm reprogramming
A study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine gives stem cell researchers critical information as they try to reprogram adult cells to mimic the curative and self-renewing properties of stem cells.

Learning Matters launching new six-title series Test Yourself ... Psychology
A new series for Psychology students will publish this week in time for the back to university season.

Editorial calls UN summit declaration underwhelming, lacking ambition, and reflective of industry interests
An Editorial published Online First in The Lancet Oncology describes the long-awaited declaration resulting from this week's UN Summit on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in New York, as a 'watered-down document reflective of national and industry interests' that

Lung cancer research team awarded $1.43 million to study cancer in Eastern Kentucky
The University of Kentucky's Dr. Susanne Arnold and colleagues were awarded a grant by the Department of Defense to study potential environmental reasons for the unusually high lung cancer rates in Eastern Kentucky.

Over the hump: Ecologists use power of network science to challenge long-held theory
For decades, ecologists have toiled to nail down principles explaining why some habitats have many more plant and animal species than others.

XMRV, related viruses not confirmed in blood of healthy donors or chronic fatigue syndrome patients
A study supported by the US Department of Health and Human Services could not validate or confirm previous research findings that suggested the presence of one of several viruses in blood samples of people living with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Ties between scientists in South Africa and Europe to strengthen
Scientists in South Africa to access the latest in European life sciences thinking following a cooperation agreement between EMBO, EMBC and the government of South Africa.

Study to test efficacy of prenatal intervention, support on lowering postpartum depression in teens
More than 400,000 adolescent girls will give birth in the United States each year, and about one in four of them will experience postpartum depression.

Model provides successful seasonal forecast for the fate of Arctic sea ice
Relatively accurate predictions for summer sea ice extent in the Arctic can be made the previous autumn, but forecasting more than five years into the future requires understanding of the impact of climate trends on the ice pack.

NASA to demonstrate communications via laser beam
It currently takes 90 minutes to transmit high-resolution images from Mars, but NASA would like to dramatically reduce that time to just minutes.

Hall of Fame astronaut delivers award at the University of Oklahoma
Apollo astronaut Charlie Duke will present University of Oklahoma (OU) student Bradley Pirtle with a $10,000 scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) during a public presentation and ceremony, September 28, 2011 at 1 p.m. in the Devon Energy Hall Atrium at OU.

Archaeologists uncover evidence of large ancient shipyard near Rome
University of Southampton and British School at Rome (BSR) archaeologists, leading an international excavation of Portus -- the ancient port of Rome, believe they have discovered a large Roman shipyard.

Johns Hopkins researchers pinpoint the cause of MRI vertigo
A team of researchers says it has discovered why so many people undergoing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), especially in newer high-strength machines, get vertigo, or the dizzy sensation of free-falling, while inside or when coming out of the tunnel-like machine.

Cloaking magnetic fields -- the first antimagnet
Spanish researchers have designed what they believe to be a new type of magnetic cloak, which shields objects from external magnetic fields, while at the same time preventing any magnetic internal fields from leaking outside, making the cloak undetectable.

Female promiscuity can rescue populations from harmful effects of inbreeding
Females in inbred populations become more promiscuous in order to screen out sperm from genetically incompatible males, according to new study by the University of East Anglia (UEA).

With more choice, friends are more similar -- but not closer
People prefer to make friends with others who share their beliefs, values and interests.

Study shows soy protein reduced progression of clogged arteries in women within 5 years of menopause
A new study published in the November 2011 issue of Stroke reveals some promising data on the positive effects of soy protein reducing the progression of clogged arteries in women who were within five years of menopause.

GCEP awards $3.5 million for energy research
Stanford's Global Climate and Energy Project has awarded $3.5 million to five universities to develop new technologies that improve energy storage on the grid.

Early research shows dietary supplement may lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes
In an early preclinical study in mice, UCLA researchers demonstrated that a dietary supplement may help inhibit development of insulin resistance and glucose intolerance, conditions involved in development of Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Research reveals potentially substantial benefits of investing in early childhood development
New research reveals that increasing investment in early childhood development programs is a highly cost-effective strategy that could provide considerable returns, with the potential to promote long-term growth and significantly reduce inequalities in low- and middle-income countries.

CMU researchers find amplification of bias in advice to the unidentified and many
Professionals often give advice to many anonymous people. For example, financial analysts give public recommendations to buy, hold or sell stock.

Kidney damage and high blood pressure
Scientists have now begun to understand kidney damage on a cellular level and how the activity of certain molecules in damaged kidneys contributes to salt and water retention in nephrotic syndrome.

Aboriginal Australians: The first explorers
In an exciting development, an international team of researchers have, for the first time, pieced together the human genome from an Aboriginal Australian.

New targets for the control of HIV predicted using a novel computational analysis
Over 25 years of intensive research have failed to create a vaccine for preventing HIV. 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