Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 13, 2011
Scripps florida scientist awarded $4.2 million for type 1 diabetes research
A scientist at The Scripps Research Institute has been awarded $4.2 million from the National Institutes of Health in a program to advance what the agency calls

'Sweet Stuff: An American History of Sweeteners from Sugar to Sucralose'
Each year, the average American consumes around 150 pounds of sugars and substantial amounts of artificial sweeteners.

NIH funds development of new broad-spectrum therapeutics
Four companies are to develop broad-spectrum therapeutics -- antibiotics, antivirals and an antitoxin -- to prevent or treat diseases caused by multiple types of bacteria or viruses, under contracts awarded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Toronto researchers find first physical evidence bilingualism delays onset of Alzheimer's symptoms
Researchers at St. Michael's Hospital have found that people who speak more than one language have twice as much brain damage as unilingual people before they exhibit symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.

Breast tenderness in women getting combo hormone therapy associated with increase in breast density
Post-menopausal women who experience new onset breast tenderness after starting combination hormone therapy may have an increased risk of breast cancer compared to women who don't experience breast tenderness, a study by researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center has shown.

Eating green veggies improves immune defenses
Researchers reporting online in the journal Cell, a Cell Press publication, on Oc.

Communication researchers showcase scholarship, teaching and creative achievements
The 97th Annual Convention of the National Communication Association, which will be held in New Orleans, Nov.

Surgery for epilepsy leads to around half of patients being seizure-free after 10 years
Around half of patients remain seizure free 10 years after undergoing surgery for epilepsy.

Aggressive piranhas bark to say buzz off
Piranhas are best known for their bite, but did you know they make sounds too?

$9.8 million program aims to change how science is taught in Buffalo schools
A coalition of regional partners has received $9.8 million from the National Science Foundation to expand a promising, teacher-focused initiative that aims to change how science is taught in Buffalo Public Schools.

'Aleocharine beetles (Coleoptera, Staphylinidae) of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada'
A new book by Pensoft Publishers, that deals with Rove beetles, which constitute the largest family of insects worldwide, with more than 55,440 described species.

Scripps Research scientists reveal surprising picture of how powerful antibody neutralizes HIV
Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute have uncovered the surprising details of how a powerful anti-HIV antibody grabs hold of the virus.

New ultra-high speed network connection for researchers and educators
US Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced the activation of an ultra-high speed network connection for scientists, researchers and educators at universities and National Laboratories that is at least ten times faster than commercial Internet providers.

Lower income dads active in their kids' health
Lower income, urban dads are involved in their children's health and encourage them to exercise and eat healthy foods.

NIH-funded researchers correct sickle cell disease in adult mice
National Institutes of Health-funded scientists have corrected sickle cell disease in adult laboratory mice by activating production of a special blood component normally produced before, but not after, birth.

Ambitious Hubble survey obtaining new dark matter census
This image of galaxy cluster MACS J1206.2-0847 (or MACS 1206 for short) is part of a broad survey with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

UH engineers finding new ways to fight malaria with DOD grant
With resistance to existing antimalarial drugs on the rise, there is a renewed push to find different ways to fight it.

A new scheme for photonic quantum computing
The concepts of quantum technology promise to achieve more powerful information processing than is possible with even the best possible classical computers.

Reversing sickle cell anemia by turning on fetal hemoglobin
New research by HHMI scientists shows it's possible to reactivate production of fetal hemoglobin production in adult mice and effectively reverse sickle cell disease.

Tiny fossil fragment reveals giant-but-ugly-truth
Fossil in London's Natural History Museum is part of biggest-ever toothed pterosaur from dinosaur era.

Knowledge mining resource accelerates science, technology education, research
A knowledge mining and authorship network visualization resource allows someone who is not an expert in data mining to make sense of massive amounts of data and find potential collaborators across fields.

Does converting cow manure to electricity pay off?
In a case study published in the Journal of Dairy Science, researchers at the University of Vermont and the Central Vermont Public Service Corporation (CVPS) confirm that it is technically feasible to convert cow manure to electricity on farms, but the economic returns depend highly on the base electricity price; the premium paid for converted energy; financial supports from government and other agencies; and the ability to sell byproducts of the methane generation.

The Murcian flower has been 'revived' after 100 years
The species of legume known as 'Tallante's chickpea', which has not been seen for nearly a century, has finally been studied in detail.

New research from WALTHAM demonstrates the importance of portion control for maintaining healthy body weight in neutered female kittens
A team of researchers has shown that female kittens consume more food and are more likely to be overweight post-neutering when compared with entire littermates.

Commercial dry petfood has significant benefits for oral health in cats and dogs
In a nationwide study of more than 17,000 dogs and 6,000 cats visiting over 700 Polish veterinary surgeries, researchers have shown that including at least some dry food in the diet has significant benefits for oral health in cats and dogs compared with home-prepared alternatives.

U-M ecologist: Future forests may soak up more carbon dioxide than previously believed
North American forests appear to have a greater capacity to soak up heat-trapping carbon dioxide gas than researchers had previously anticipated.

Can indigenous peoples be relied on to gather reliable environmental data?
Some scientists argue that the cultural and educational differences between trained scientists and native peoples are too large for the latter's data to be relied on in environmental studies.

Earlier autism diagnosis could mean earlier interventions
Autism is normally diagnosed between the ages of 2 and 3.

Virginia Commonwealth University receives federal contract to design and develop permanent magnets
Virginia Commonwealth University has received a contract totaling $2.9 million from the US Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, to develop and design a new class of permanent magnets to be used in energy-efficient electric car motors or generators.

USDA research demonstrates new breeds of broccoli remain packed with health benefits
Research performed by scientists at the US Department of Agriculture and published recently in the journal Crop Science has demonstrated that mineral levels in new varieties of broccoli have not declined since 1975, and that the broccoli contains the same levels of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium and other minerals that have made the vegetable a healthy staple of American diets for decades.

Hospital superbug debugged
An international team of scientists led by Monash University researchers has uncovered how a common hospital bacterium becomes a deadly superbug that kills increasing numbers of hospital patients worldwide and accounts for an estimated $3.2 billion each year in health-care costs in the US alone.

Researchers block morphine's itchy side effect
Itching is one of the most prevalent side effects of powerful, pain-killing drugs like morphine, oxycodone and other opioids.

Method of studying roots rarely used in wetlands improves ecosystem research
A method of monitoring roots rarely used in wetlands will help researchers effectively study the response of a high-carbon ecosystem to elevated temperatures and levels of carbon dioxide.

NASA continues critical survey of Antarctica's changing ice
Scientists with NASA's Operation IceBridge airborne research campaign began the mission's third year of surveys this week over the changing ice of Antarctica.

Spray-on protective coating wins 'R&D 100' Award
R&D Magazine honored Office of Naval Research scientist Dr. Roshdy George S.

Researchers discover hidden genetic influence on cancer
In findings with major implications for the genetics of cancer and human health, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and two other science teams in New York City and Rome have uncovered evidence of powerful new genetic networks and showed how it may work to drive cancer and normal development.

Precision with stem cells a step forward for treating MS, other diseases
Scientists have improved upon previous efforts to pluck out just the right stem cells to address the brain problem at the core of multiple sclerosis and a large number of rare, fatal children's diseases.

100,000-year-old ochre toolkit and workshop discovered in South Africa
An ochre-rich mixture, possibly used for decoration, painting and skin protection 100,000 years ago, and stored in two abalone shells, was discovered at Blombos Cave in Cape Town, South Africa.

Drunk, powerful, and in the dark: The paradox of the disinhibited
A new article by researchers at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University presents a new model that explains how the diverse domains of power, intoxication, and anonymity produce similarly paradoxical social behaviors - for better or worse.

ESO and Chile sign agreement on E-ELT
At a ceremony today in Santiago, Chile the Chilean Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alfredo Moreno and ESO's Director General, Tim de Zeeuw, signed an agreement regarding the European Extremely Large Telescope.

Packaging expert sees a social revolution in the evolving barcode
What if you could trace the history of everything you buy back to its origins?

Autism Speaks and BGI to complete whole genome sequencing on 10,000 with autism
Autism Speaks and BGI announce their partnership to create the world's largest library of sequenced genomes of individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Preventing dangerous nonsense in human gene expression
Human genes are preferentially encoded by codons that are less likely to be mistranscribed (or

Nasal congestion: More than physical obstruction
Symptoms of nasal congestion have been difficult to treat because patient reports of congestion often have little relationship to the actual physical obstruction of nasal airflow.

Researchers engineer a new way to inhibit allergic reactions without side effects
Researchers from the University of Notre Dame have announced a breakthrough approach to allergy treatment that inhibits food allergies, drug allergies, and asthmatic reactions without suppressing a sufferer's entire immunological system.

ONR funds scientists in international climate research and modeling project
An international team of researchers co-sponsored by the Office of Naval Research is studying Indian Ocean meteorological and oceanographic processes for clues to predicting worldwide weather patterns, ONR announced Oct.

Controlling cell death prevents skin inflammation
Now, a new study published by Cell Press in the October issue of the journal Immunity provides evidence that stopping of a type of regulated cell death called

'Never married' men still more likely to die from cancer
It is known that the unmarried are in general more likely to die than their married counterparts and there is some indication that the divide is getting worse.

Gut bacteria may affect whether a statin drug lowers cholesterol
Statins can be effective at lowering cholesterol, but they have a perplexing tendency to work for some people and not others.

Steps towards the use of adult stem cells for gene therapy
As part of a project conducted by teams from the University of Cambridge and the Sanger Institute, with collaboration from a team from the Institut Pasteur and INSERM, researchers have demonstrated for the first time that adult stem cells, produced using cells from patients with liver disease, may be genetically corrected before being differentiated to hepatic cells and contributing to liver regeneration in an animal model.

Tests to catch the makers of dangerous 'legal high' designer drugs
Urgently needed tests which could help identify the manufacturers of designer 'legal high' drugs are being developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.

Permanently dismal economy could prompt men to seek more sex partners
Omri Gillath's research is the first to show a causal link between low survivability cues and sexual preparedness in men, using both behavioral and physiological measures.

Differing structures underlie differing brain rhythms in healthy and ill
Virtual brains modeling epilepsy and schizophrenia display less complexity among functional connections, and other differences compared to healthy brain models, researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine report.

USAID awards cooperative agreement to CONRAD for multipurpose prevention study
USAID awarded CONRAD a five year project with a $2 million ceiling to focus on testing the safety and effectiveness of the SILCS diaphragm, the one-size-fits-most contraceptive barrier, combined with tenofovir gel -- the only topical product proven to prevent the acquisition of HIV and Herpes Simplex Virus.

Dialing up fetal hemoglobin dials down sickle cell disease
Flipping a single molecular switch can reverse illness in a model of sickle cell disease, according to a study by researchers at Children's Hospital Boston and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Terry Fox Research Institute aims to change diagnosis and management of ovarian cancer worldwide
Women throughout the world will benefit from a new, pan-Canadian Terry Fox Research Institute initiative that aims to change the way in which ovarian cancer is diagnosed and managed.

WUSTL wins $ 2.2 million US Department of Energy grant to build a fuel producing bacterium
The US Department of Energy has funded a three-university collaboration led by Washington University in St.

Can't buy me love: Study shows materialistic couples have more money and more problems
Couples who say money is not important to them score about 10 to 15 percent better on marriage stability and other measures of relationship quality than couples where one or both are materialistic.

Robot biologist solves complex problem from scratch
A team of scientists has taken a major step toward developing robot biologists.

Differences in jet lag severity could be rooted in how circadian clock sets itself
Researchers have found hints that differing molecular processes in one area of the brain might play a significant role in the differences of jet lag severity between long-distance west-to-east travel and east-to-west travel.

When the economy is down, alcohol consumption goes up
Previous studies have found that health outcomes improve during an economic downturn.

Polar bears ill from accumulated environmental toxins
New doctoral thesis documents that industrial chemicals are transported from the industrialized world to the Arctic via air and sea currents.

Three steps to unbreakable bones on World Osteoporosis Day
For this year's World Osteoporosis Day, the International Osteoporosis Foundation is releasing a 24-page report promoting a three-step strategy for healthy bones and strong muscles.

Iowa State, Ames Lab physicist says nanoparticle assembly is like building with LEGOs
Alex Travesset reports in the Oct. 14 issue of the journal Science that nanotechnology has entered a new era.

Nurses boost well-being for cancer survivors
A one-off consultation with a nurse at the end of cancer treatment can make a difference to a patient's ongoing physical and emotional well-being.

Taking steps to prevent 'going postal'
Workplace violence continues to be a topic of great importance to many companies, as tales of extreme cases hit the media.

Study could help battle against superbugs
Targeting a toxin released by virtually all strains of MRSA could help scientists develop new drugs that can fight the superbug, research suggests.

Obstructing MRSA toxin could help bid to beat superbugs
Researchers have discovered a toxin -- SElX -- released by Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) which leads the body's immune system to go into overdrive and damage healthy cells.

Severe drought, other changes can cause permanent ecosystem disruption
An eight-year study has concluded that increasingly frequent and severe drought, dropping water tables and dried-up springs have pushed some aquatic desert ecosystems into

Miscarriage diagnosis guidelines questioned
Current guidelines that help clinicians decide whether a woman has had a miscarriage are inadequate and not reliable, and following them may lead to the inadvertent termination of wanted pregnancies.

In teen drinking it's not who you know, it's who knows who you know
Teenage alcohol consumption may be influenced more by a date's friends than his or her own friends, according to Penn State and Ohio State criminologists.

Earthquakes generate big heat in super-small areas
In experiments mimicking the speed of earthquakes, geophysicists at Brown University detail a phenomenon known as flash heating.

Hubble survey carries out a dark matter census
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has been used to make an image of galaxy cluster MACS J1206.2-0847.

Fighting pollution to slow climate change
A University of California, Riverside assistant professor of chemical and environmental engineering has received a $450,000 grant to study the impact of air-polluting black carbon particles as a way to mitigate climate change.

Emulating -- and surpassing -- nature
Northwestern University scientists has learned how to top nature by building crystalline materials from nanoparticles (the

National Jewish Health researchers awarded $13 million to evaluate treatments for toxic gases
National Jewish Health researchers have received nearly $13 million from the National Institutes of Health to evaluate potential rescue medications for victims of terrorist attacks, wartime use of toxic gases, and/or inhalation disasters.

Urgent need for research in the diagnosis of miscarriage
The current ultrasound test to diagnose miscarriage in early pregnancy is based on limited evidence, raising questions about its reliability, according to a new paper published by researchers at Queen Mary, University of London.

Scientists discover dietary moisture window that boosts urinary tract health in cats
Researchers have shown for the first time that increased dietary moisture really is beneficial for urinary tract health in cats.

Simple genetic circuit forms stripes
Developmental processes that create stripes and other patterns are complex and difficult to untangle.

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome at increased risk of pregnancy complications
Women with polycystic ovary syndrome are more likely to have problems with pregnancy regardless of whether they are undergoing fertility treatment, claims new research published on today.

Agricultural pest management program efficiency challenged by information diffusion barriers among farmers
While international pest management programs have long relied on farmer cooperation to spread pest control information at larger scales, a study by French researchers published in the open-access journal PLoS Computational Biology on Thursday, Oct.

American Physiological Society's conference focuses on key gender differences in health
Cardiovascular disease and other gender-specific conditions -- such as menopause, pregnancy, depression, and obesity -- will be explored in depth at a 2-day conference sponsored by the American Physiological Society (APS).

Pesticides pollute European waterbodies more than previously thought
Pesticides are a bigger problem than had long been assumed.

Understanding the beginnings of embryonic stem cells helps predict the future
Dr. Thomas Zwaka, associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine, and his colleagues here and abroad showed that laboratory-grown cells express a protein called Blimp1, which represses differentiation to somatic or regular tissue cells during germ cell development.

Reversing smoke-induced damage and disease in the lung
By studying mice exposed to tobacco smoke for a period of months, researchers have new insight into how emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease develops.

Scientists in Singapore and Europe to collaborate
Scientists in Singapore and Europe will have new avenues for scientific interaction, following a cooperation agreement between EMBO, EMBC and the government of Singapore.

Carbon nanotube muscles generate giant twist for novel motors
Artificial muscles, based on carbon nanotubes yarn, that twist like the trunk of an elephant, but provide a thousand times higher rotation per length, were announced on Oct.

Improving the physics of grocery store display cases to save energy
Aeronautical engineers are devising ways to boost the efficiency of open-air refrigerated cases, which are increasingly common in supermarkets.

Association between menopause, obesity and cognitive impairment
In a study of 300 post-menopausal women, obese participants performed better on three cognitive tests than participants of normal weight, leading researchers to speculate about the role of sex hormones and cognition.

Stem cells from cord blood could help repair damaged heart muscle
New research has found that stem cells derived from human cord blood could be an effective alternative in repairing heart attacks.

Southampton scientists herald significant breakthrough in study of chlamydia
A breakthrough in the study of chlamydia genetics could open the way to new treatments and the development of a vaccine for this sexually transmitted disease.

Industrial design students, professor earn honors at National Safety Conference
Three UH projects took top honors during the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's

Children, not chimps, choose collaboration
When all else is equal, human children prefer to work together in solving a problem rather than on their own.

Endangered species? Should cheap phosphorus be first on an elemental 'Red List?'
Should the periodic table bear a warning label in the 21st century or be revised with a lesson about elemental supply and demand?

Public reporting hasn't improved transplant centers' care
Public reporting of the successes and failures of transplant centers has not diminished the gaps between the best and worst centers.

Brain scans reveal drugs' effects on attention
Scientists have developed a way to evaluate new treatments for some forms of attention deficit disorder.

Inefficient developing world stoves contribute to 2 million deaths a year
An international effort to replace smoky, inefficient household stoves that people commonly use in lower and middle income countries with clean, affordable, fuel efficient stoves could save nearly 2 million lives each year, according to experts from the National Institutes of Health.

US Army awards $1.5 million for sleep research
Sleep or lack of sleep affects our physical and neurological performance.

New technologies challenge old ideas about early hominid diets
New assessments by researchers using the latest high-tech tools to study the diets of early hominids are challenging long-held assumptions about what our ancestors ate, says a study by the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Arkansas.

The clock, the spool, and the snake
Mice don't have tails on their backs, and their ribs don't grow from lumbar vertebrae.

Data publishing in Pensoft journals integrated with the Dryad Data Repository
The data publishing workflow of eight journals published by Pensoft has now been integrated with the Dryad Digital Repository, facilitating data archiving for data files associated with articles in these journals.

Cichlid male nannies help out, especially if they've been sneaking
Subordinate male cichlid fish who help with the childcare for the dominant breeding pair are occasionally actually the fathers of some of the offspring they help to rear, according to new research from the University of Bristol published today in PLoS ONE.

Experimental mathematics
In their article

Penn team links schizophrenia genetics to disruption in how brain processes sound
What links genetic differences to changes in altered brain activity in schizophrenia is not clear.

Twitter data used to track vaccination rates and attitudes
The first case study in how social-media sites can affect the spread of a disease has been designed and implemented by a scientist at Penn State University studying attitudes toward the H1N1 vaccine.

Satellites view 3 dying tropical systems in eastern Pacific
Three tropical systems in the eastern Pacific Ocean: Tropical Depression Irwin, Post-tropical cyclone Jova, and the remnants of Tropical Depression 12E all appeared to be fading on NASA satellite imagery today.

Russian ship finds tsunami debris where scientists predicted
Ever since the Japan tsunami on March 11 washed millions of tons of debris into the Pacific, scientists at the University of Hawaii Manoa have been looking for evidence to validate their computer model of the trajectory of these debris that are endangering small ships and coastlines.

Regaining trust after a transgression
The scene has become all too familiar -- the disgraced politician, chastened business leader or shamed celebrity standing before a podium offering up their apologies as the news cameras flash.

SU professor uncovers potential issues with apps built for Android systems
Wenliang Du, professor of computer science in the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science (LCS), has had his paper accepted to be presented at the 27th Annual Computer Security Applications Conference, on potential issues with mobile applications (commonly referred to as apps) written for the Android system using the WebView platform.

UBC researchers invent tiny artificial muscles with the strength, flexibility of elephant trunk
An international team of researchers has invented new artificial muscles strong enough to rotate objects a thousand times their own weight, but with the same flexibility of an elephant's trunk or octopus limbs.

A step towards new vaccines for most important chicken parasite
Researchers funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, among others, have taken the first step in developing a new type of vaccine to protect chickens against coccidiosis, the most important parasite of poultry globally.

Mile End chic under study
A neighborhood's raw, edgy atmosphere is an essential feature in attracting designers, according to new research from Concordia University and the University of Toronto.

Direct access to physical therapists associated with lower costs and fewer visits, new study says
A new study suggesting that

Tecnalia does research into plastics and textiles for the main urban pests
Tecnalia leads INSEPLATEX project, an ambitious project that will be endeavoring to develop technologies to provide various types of plastics and textiles with repellent or insecticidal effects targeting the main species of insects regarded as urban pests.

Children prefer cooperation
Children, but not chimpanzees, prefer to collaborate.

Meerkats recognize each other from their calls
Wild meerkats living in the Kalahari Desert in Southern Africa recognize group members from their calls, behavior researchers at the University of Zurich have established for the first time.

Insoluble dust particles can form cloud droplets affecting global and regional climates
New information on the role of insoluble dust particles in forming cloud droplets could improve the accuracy of regional climate models, especially in areas of the world that have significant amounts of mineral aerosols in the atmosphere. 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