Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 11, 2011
Angel investor market stabilizes in first half of 2011, UNH Center for Venture Research finds
The angel investor market in the first two quarters of 2011 showed signs of stabilization since the 30 percent market correction in the second half of 2008 and the first half of 2009, with total investments totaling $8.9 billion, an increase of 4.7 percent over the same period in 2010, according to the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire.

X-ray camera makes A-grade particle detector
Combining an off-the-shelf X-ray camera with a thin piece of carbon foil yields a device that can detect high-energy organic atoms and heavy molecules better than the typical devices used for these jobs, with potential benefits ranging from the science of cancer treatment to star chemistry.

Link shown between environmental toxicants and atherosclerosis
Environmental toxicants such as dioxins, PCBs, and pesticides can pose a risk for cardiovascular disease.

$8.4 million grant supports health information exchange and research on Alzheimer's drugs
An $8.4 million award from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is enhancing the infrastructure of the Indiana Network for Patient Care, the nation's largest and most sophisticated health information exchange.

Einstein College of Medicine given $6.7 million to study congenital heart defect genetics
The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and collaborators at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia a five-year, $6.7 million grant to study the genetics of both rare and common congenital heart abnormalities known as conotruncal defects.

NJIT math professor calls Rangers and Brewers solid favorites for championships
The Major League Baseball Division Series is underway and NJIT math professor Bruce Bukiet has once again analyzed the probability of each team advancing to the World Series.

Super-tough seed coat keeps Michaux's sumac on critically endangered list
It is one of the rarest shrubs in the southeastern United States, and for scientists trying to save it, the critically endangered Michaux's sumac (Rhus michauxii) is not cooperating.

Hispanic women have higher incidence of rare breast tumor
According to a study published in the October issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, phyllodes tumors -- rare breast malignancies accounting for 0.5 to 1 percent of all breast tumors -- tend to be more prevalent in Hispanic patients.

Luminous grains of sand determine year of historic storm flood
Scientists at Delft University of Technology have successfully matched a layer of sediment from the dunes near Heemskerk to a severe storm flood that occurred in either 1775 or 1776.

$9.55 million NCI grant targets the resistance of advanced prostate cancer
When caught in its early stages, prostate cancer is treatable in most cases.

Mercury pollution in the Great Lakes region -- nearly forgotten, but not gone
Despite general declines in mercury levels in the Great Lakes region over the past four decades, mercury concentrations still exceed human and ecological risk thresholds, especially in inland lakes and rivers, according to the report

New knowledge about 'flawed' diamonds could speed the development of diamond-based quantum computers
A University at Buffalo-led research team has established the presence of a dynamic Jahn-Teller effect in defective diamonds, a finding that will help advance the development of diamond-based systems in applications such as quantum information processing.

Molecular depth profiling modeled using buckyballs and low-energy argon
The strengths and weaknesses of a new method of molecular depth profiling -- a technique used to analyze the surface of ultra-thin materials such as human tissue, nanoparticles, and other substances -- have been revealed by a new computer-simulation study, which may help future researchers to choose when to use the new method of probing ultra-thin materials.

Media invited to 'Signposts of Planets' meeting at NASA Goddard
The search for planets orbiting distant stars is among the most exciting in astrophysics.

Women in prison: An issue of blaming the individual for social problems
Researchers have long claimed that physical abuse and marginalization lead to criminal activity; however, women in prison are taught to overlook socioeconomic issues and blame only themselves for their behavior, according to the new study

Oranges and mandarins are inspected using artificial vision
Scientists at the Valencian Institute of Agrarian Research have created a machine that detects and separates rotten oranges, another that classifies mandarin segments according to their quality and another that helps citrus fruit pickers out in the field.

Ginger root supplement reduced colon inflammation markers
Ginger supplements reduced markers of colon inflammation in a select group of patients, suggesting that this supplement may have potential as a colon cancer prevention agent, according to a study published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

ISU plant pathologist updates science community on groundbreaking research
In the two years since the journal Science published an article by ISU's Adam Bogdanove about his groundbreaking gene research, scientists around the world have built on his findings to explore further breakthroughs.

Researchers track number of doctors disciplined and why
A total of 606 Canadian physicians were disciplined by their provincial medical licensing authorities between 2000 and 2009, researchers at St.

Fall financial market jitters a SAD thing
It's no surprise to researcher Lisa Kramer that financial market dips and crashes typically happen in the fall.

Crab pulsar emits light at higher energies than expected
Pulsars -- highly magnetized, rotating stars -- were first discovered more than 40 years ago, and are now believed to be a type of stellar leftover, or remnant -- in this case, a neutron star -- that results from the explosion and gravitational collapse of a more massive star.

NIH-funded study shows increased prostate cancer risk from vitamin E supplements
Men who took 400 international units of vitamin E daily had more prostate cancers compared to men who took a placebo.

WHOI teaming with Flatley Discovery Lab in search for effective treatments for cystic fibrosis
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has signed a $1.18 million agreement with the Flatley Discovery Lab in Charlestown, Mass., to investigate and supply marine microbial extracts as possible treatments for cystic fibrosis.

NSF-funded database tracks water
Development of a database that will be able to track potential impacts of Marcellus Shale activity on water quality is the focus of a new $750,000 research collaboration led by Penn State researchers.

University of Alberta discovery could change the face of cell-biology research
Rewrite the textbooks and revisit old experiments, because there's a new cog in our cellular machinery that has been discovered by researchers from the University of Alberta and the University of Cambridge Institute for Medical Research.

Time for action: EU reacts to UN Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases
The MEP Heart Group, co-chaired by Ms. Linda McAvan MEP and Mr.

New project examines medical safety net for undocumented patients
The Hastings Center is exploring the ethical challenges that clinicians and organizations face when providing medical care to undocumented immigrants in the United States.

University of Colorado Cancer Center test helps reduce risk of death in advanced lung cancer
A test developed by the University of Colorado Cancer Center helped reduce the risk of death in lung cancer patients in a recent clinical trial.

Men with disabilities 4 times more likely to be sexually abused than men without disabilities
Previous studies have documented that women with disabilities are more likely to be sexually assaulted than women without disabilities.

New equation predicts molecular forces in hydrophobic interactions
The physical model to describe the hydrophobic interactions of molecules has been a mystery that has challenged scientists and engineers since the 19th century.

New form of superhard carbon observed
Carbon is the fourth-most-abundant element in the universe and takes on a wide variety of forms, called allotropes, including diamond and graphite.

Ticagrelor: Considerable added benefit for specific patients
Since the start of 2011, the active ingredient ticagrelor can be prescribed in Germany in addition to acetylsalicylic acid to avoid blood clots in patients with acute ischaemia of the cardiac muscle.

Burden of antibiotic resistance in Europe
Hospital associated infections (HAI) are often in the headlines, but what is the burden of mortality, morbidity and costs due to HAIs?

Health benefits of broccoli require the whole food, not supplements
New research has found that if you want some of the many health benefits associated with eating broccoli or other cruciferous vegetables, you need to eat the real thing - a key phytochemical in these vegetables is poorly absorbed and of far less value if taken as a supplement.

Specialized courts for environment cases among proposals as law experts mull green governance
Assigning environment-related legal cases to specialized tribunals, courts and judges is among the ideas being aired as experts convene in Malaysia for a two-day United Nations conference on the relationship between the world's law, justice and governance systems and sustainable development.

Common antibiotic can have serious adverse reactions
A commonly prescribed antimicrobial -- trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole -- that has been used since 1968 can cause serious adverse reactions and physicians need to be aware of these in prescribing, states a review in CMAJ.

Advances in brain imaging can expedite research and diagnosis in Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease is a common problem that is becoming progressively burdensome throughout the world.

Roche licenses DNA sequencing technology from Biodesign Institute
Roche and Arizona Technology Enterprises (AzTE) announced today an agreement to license several technologies developed by Dr.

Optics innovations to be showcased during OSA's Annual Meeting, Frontiers in Optics 2011
Advances in optics research and technologies from more than 850 scientific presentations will be highlighted during the Optical Society's 95th Annual Meeting, Frontiers in Optics 2011, Oct.

Ovarian cancer patients survive longer with BRCA2 mutated in tumors
Women with high-grade ovarian cancer live longer and respond better to platinum-based chemotherapy when their tumors have BRCA2 genetic mutations, researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Institute for Systems Biology report in the Oct.

Melatonin delays onset, reduces deaths in mouse model of Huntington's disease
Melatonin, best known for its role in sleep regulation, delayed the onset of symptoms and reduced mortality in a mouse model of Huntington's disease, say researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School.

Evidence-based guidelines targeting fever, hyperglycemia, and swallowing management in stroke patients improve outcomes and can be adopted with confidence by acute stroke units
A multidisciplinary intervention targeting fever, hyperglycemia and swallowing management in acute stroke units means stroke patients are less likely to be dead or dependent at 90 days and have better physical functioning than those given standard care.

Astronomers find bounty of failed stars
A University of Toronto-led team of astronomers has discovered over two dozen new free-floating brown dwarfs, including a lightweight youngster only about six times heftier than Jupiter, that reside in two young star clusters.

More intersections mean less outdoor activity for children
High intersection density and well-connected streets in towns and cities may discourage children from being active and exercising outdoors, according to a Queen's University study

Open-access publication in JoVE receives sponsorship from Carl Zeiss MicroImaging
The Journal of Visualized Experiments will partner with Carl Zeiss Microscopy to support the sharing of scientific information through open access.

New computer program promises to save the whales
Researchers at the University of Montreal have developed a computer program that enables regulators to evaluate the ecological and economic trade-offs between marine mammal conservation, whale watching and marine transportation activities in the Saint Lawrence Estuary.

BRCA2 genetic mutation associated with improved survival and chemotherapy response in ovarian cancer
Among women with a certain type of high-grade ovarian cancer, having BRCA2 genetic mutations, but not BRCA1, was associated with improved overall survival and improved response to chemotherapy, compared to women with BRCA wild-type (genetic type used as a reference to compare genetic mutations), according to a study in the Oct.

Mushroom compound appears to improve effectiveness of cancer drugs
A compound isolated from a wild, poisonous mushroom growing in a southwest China forest appears to help a cancer killing drug fulfill its promise, researchers report.

National study finds vitamin E supplement may increase prostate cancer risk
Men who take a daily vitamin E supplement -- a regimen once thought to reduce cancer risk -- face an increased risk of prostate cancer, according to results of a large national study.

NASA gets an icy cold wink from Hurricane Jova's eye
Several NASA satellites have been following Hurricane Jova since birth and over the last day, Jova's eye has

Managing child contacts of adult TB cases
In this week's PLoS Medicine, Philip Campbell Hill of the University of Otago, New Zealand, and colleagues propose a new approach to help better manage child contacts of adult TB cases, using a health needs assessment framework, research tools, and a strategy for clinical evaluation.

The strange rubbing boulders of the Atacama
A geologist's sharp eyes and upset stomach has led to the discovery, and almost too-close encounter, with an otherworldly geological process operating in a remote corner of northern Chile's Atacama Desert.

Laser removal of heart device wires safe for older patients
Using a laser to remove pacemaker and defibrillator wires implanted in heart muscle is as safe in people ages 80 and older as it is in younger people.

Folic acid in early pregnancy associated with reduced risk of severe language delay in children
Use of folic acid supplements by women in Norway in the period four weeks before to eight weeks after conception was associated with a reduced risk of the child having severe language delay at age three years, according to a study in the Oct.

Spreading like wildfire? Maybe not always
DHS's Science and Technology Directorate is funding experimental fire research at the National Institute of Standards and Technology to discover when and how quickly wildfire embers ignite fires in structures along the wildland urban interface, and what we can do to prevent it.

Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund awards grant to R.J. Dunlap Marine Conservation Program
The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fundannounced that the R.J. Dunlap Marine Conservation Program at the University of Miami has been awarded an annual grant to support its project: Conserving Critically Endangered Oceanic Sharks.

Natural processes can limit spread of arsenic in water, says study
A new study shows that deep sediments can grab naturally occurring arsenic in groundwater and take it out of circulation -- a finding that may help to keep wells safe elsewhere, including in the United States.

New drug target for Alzheimer's, stroke is discovered by University at Buffalo scientists
A tiny piece of a critical receptor that fuels the brain and without which sentient beings cannot live has been discovered by University at Buffalo scientists as a promising new drug target for Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases.

NASA sees large Tropical Storm Banyan stretched over southern Philippines
Tropical Storm Banyan's center may still be at sea, but NASA satellite data today shows the western edge of the storm already over the southern Philippines.

Professor Peter J. Coffey's stem cell therapy for Age-Related Macular Degeneration expected to begin clinical trials in 2012
The New York Stem Cell Foundation announced today that a British stem cell scientist working to cure blindness will be the first recipient of The New York Stem Cell Foundation -- Robertson Prize in Stem Cell Research, a $200,000 prize awarded annually for extraordinary achievement in translational stem cell research.

Notre Dame researchers awarded millions to develop radically new computers
Reflecting its worldwide leadership in the search for new computing technologies, the University of Notre Dame has received two of 12 prestigious grants for cutting-edge nanoelectronics research that were awarded recently by the Semiconductor Research Corp.'s Nanoelectronics Research Initiative (SRC-NRI) and the National Science Foundation.

Researchers discover oldest fossil rodents in South America
An international team of researchers have found the oldest rodent fossils in South America.

OU professors awarded $2.8 million for 4-year study on biodiversity in warmer climates
Two researchers at the University of Oklahoma Receive $2.8 million over four years from the NSF to see why warmer climates have more life than colder climates.

The perils of polite misunderstandings
Your friend debuts a questionable haircut and asks what you think of it.

Experts find continuous glucose monitoring beneficial in maintaining target blood glucose levels
Patients with diabetes face daily challenges in managing their blood glucose levels, and it has been postulated that patients could benefit from a system providing continuous real-time glucose readings.

Fall market jitters a SAD thing, suggests paper from the Rotman School of Management
It's no surprise to researcher Lisa Kramer that financial market dips and crashes typically happen in the fall.

Most vertebrates -- including humans -- descended from ancestor with sixth sense
A study in the Oct. 11 issue of Nature Communications that caps more than 25 years of work finds that the vast majority of vertebrates -- some 30,000 species of land animals (including humans) and a roughly equal number of ray-finned fishes -- descended from a common ancestor that had a well-developed electroreceptive system.

Regenerating eyes using cells from hair: Stem Cells awards research into stem cell deficiency
The scientist who led research into using hair follicle stem cells to treat ocular surface disease has been named the winner of the Young Investigator Award by Stem Cell.

Danforth Plant Science Center awarded major bioenergy grant from US Department of Energy
The US Department of Energy awarded $5.5 million to the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center to develop the oilseed plant camelina as a sustainable source of biofuel.

Ammonia gets overdue overview
Motor vehicles and industry are primary producers of ammonia in Houston's atmosphere, and cars and trucks appear to boost their output during the winter, according to a new study by researchers at Rice University and the University of Houston.

All for one, 'R-one' for all
Rice University

University of Tennessee researchers say some youth too immature to stand trial
University of Tennessee, Knoxville, researchers found that unlike adults, most children and adolescents who are found incompetent to stand trial are not psychotic; rather, they have cognitive impairments.

Evidence points to potential roles for cognitive rehabilitation therapy in treating traumatic brain injury, but further research needed
There is some evidence about the potential value of cognitive rehabilitation therapy for treating traumatic brain injury.

New research finds that homeowners and city planners should 'hit the trail'
Two University of Cincinnati researchers will present interdisciplinary research at a national conference on planning and development of communities.

UH-led team receives $3.1 million DOE award to develop superconducting wire for wind turbines
A University of Houston-led research team will receive $3.1 million from the DOE to develop a low-cost superconducting wire that can be used to power future wind turbines.

New testing program improves scores, knowledge retention for third-year internal medicine residents
An analysis by University of Cincinnati faculty members shows that a multiple-choice testing program coupled with a novel year-long clinical experience helps internal medicine residents improve their scores on the Internal Medicine In-Training Exam.

Hutchinson Center breaks ground for first collaborative cancer center in sub-Saharan Africa
A pioneering international collaboration forged by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Wash., USA, together with the Uganda Cancer Institute in Kampala, Uganda, has broken ground for the future construction of a state-of-the-art cancer training and outpatient treatment facility in Kampala.

Industry conflicts of interest are pervasive among medical guideline panel members
Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have found that conflicts of interest are prevalent and potentially underreported among individuals participating in the development of clinical practice guidelines, which inform standards of patient care.

Research examines the economic value of on-premise signs
Results of a year-long study by the University of Cincinnati on the physical, economic and aesthetic impact of on-premise signs will be presented at the National Signage Research and Education Conference.

Neuroscience 2011 press program announced
New research findings about the brain and related disorders will be presented at Neuroscience 2011 in Washington, Nov.

Spotty, strong convection seen in NASA imagery helps Irwin regain tropical storm status
Tropical Storm Irwin almost appeared down for the count, but spotty areas of flaring convection provided a clue to forecasters that he wasn't ready to give up yet.

Eating your greens can change the effect of your genes on heart disease, say researchers
A long-held mantra suggests that you can't change your family, the genes they pass on, or the effect of these genes.

Improved method for detecting mutant DNAs
Molecular DNA testing methods offer clinicians powerful tools that serve to confirm or identify disease diagnoses.

Progress towards developing plants that accommodate climate change
The ability to promote agricultural and conservation successes in the face of rapid environmental change will partly hinge on scientists' understanding of how plants adapt to local climate.

Crowdsourcing democracy through social media
Today the citizens of Liberia will participate in just their second presidential election since the country emerged from a brutal civil war in 2003, and in such an environment the specter of violence or other unrest is never far away.

Point defects in super-chilled diamonds may offer stable candidates for quantum computing bits
Scientists test how the energy levels of electrons trapped in a defect in the diamond matrix shift with changing temperatures.

Genetic risk for cardiovascular disease may be modified by diet
In this week's PLoS Medicine, James C. Engert of McGill University, Montreal, Canada, and Sonia S.

Battle between the placenta and uterus could help explain preeclampsia
A battle that brews in the mother's womb between the father's biological goal to produce the biggest, healthiest baby possible vs. the mother's need to live through delivery might help explain preeclampsia, an often deadly disease of pregnancy.

Annual cost of violence pegged at $6.9 billion after women leave abusive partners, UBC research
Even after women have separated from an abusive partner, the violence still costs Canadians an estimated $6.9 billion a year, according to research at the University of British Columbia.

Georgia Tech releases cyber threats forecast for 2012
The year ahead will feature new and increasingly sophisticated means to capture and exploit user data, as well as escalating battles over the control of online information that threatens to compromise content and erode public trust and privacy.

Concern over conflicts of interest levels among expert panels
The prevalence and under-reporting of conflicts of interest by members of guideline panels in the United States and Canada are high, finds a study published on bmj.com today.

Governments should use cash transfers to target families hit by food poverty
Governments should target aid towards individual households threatened with poverty because of soaring food costs rather than intervene in the markets to try to lower prices, according to research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

A safer vaccination for Alzheimer's disease?
Genetic factors influence the immune response to vaccinations for Alzheimer's disease, which are among the most promising avenues of treatment for the illness.

Family of country music legend Waylon Jennings hits the right note with the Waylon Fund
TGen's Waylon Fund for Diabetes Research will support state-of-the-art investigations into the genetic and genomic origins of diabetes -- a disease that afflicts nearly 26 million Americans -- in an effort to produce better treatments and give patients better quality of life.

Emerging pharmaceutical platform may pose risks to retinal health
According to new research by University of Kentucky investigators, an emerging pharmaceutical platform used in treating a variety of diseases may produce unintended and undesirable effects on eye function.

The New York Stem Cell Foundation awards $10.5 million to 7 new NYSCF - Robertson Investigators
The New York Stem Cell Foundation today named seven of the nation's most promising young scientists as its 2011 class of NYSCF - Robertson Investigators.

Study reveals 15-year increase in life expectancy for people with HIV in UK
People with HIV have a 15 years longer life expectancy thanks to improved treatments over the past 13 years, according to a new study published on bmj.com today.

Inhaler treatment for lung cancer
Lung cancer patients could receive safer and more efficient treatment through a system being developed by researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland.

'Ghostwriting' the Torah?
Professor Nachum Dershowitz of Tel Aviv University has developed a new computer algorithm to help unravel the different sources that contributed to the authorship of the scriptures.

ORNL awards contract to Cray for Titan supercomputer
The Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has awarded a contract to Cray Inc. to increase the Jaguar supercomputer's science impact and energy efficiency.

A new mathematical model explains patterns of human movement by considering the costs
People decide to take trips for a dauntingly complex mix of reasons, but out of the individual chaos of dry-cleaning pick-ups, pizza dinners, and European vacations, a new mathematical model has emerged.

BGI develops first monkey exome sequencing platform for biomedical research
BGI develops first monkey exome sequencing platform for biomedical research.

Use of vitamin E associated with increased risk of prostate cancer
In a trial that included about 35,000 men, those who were randomized to receive daily supplementation with vitamin E had a significantly increased risk of prostate cancer, according to a study in the Oct.

Laying the blame for extreme weather
Floods, tornadoes, droughts and wildfires: They are all weather-related, but blaming the latest meteorological disaster on climate change has always been a tricky matter that climate scientists have been shy to do.

Notre Dame computer vision experts develop 'questionable observer detector'
A team of University of Notre Dame biometrics experts are developing a tool that can help law enforcement and military officials identify suspicious individuals at crime scenes.

Which direction are herbicides heading?
2,4-D is coming back. What many might consider a

Suspects in the quenching of star formation exonerated
Some supermassive black holes power luminous, rapidly growing objects called active galactic nuclei (AGN) that gather and condense enormous quantities of matter.

Greater support is needed to tackle the serious emotional consequences of whistleblowing
Whistleblowing incidents can have a serious, long-term impact on people's emotional well-being and colleagues and employers have a responsibility to support those involved, says a new study.
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