Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 20, 2011
West Nile virus transmission linked with land-use patterns and 'super-spreaders'
After its initial appearance in New York in 1999, West Nile virus spread across the United States in just a few years and is now well-established throughout North and South America.

Feed a cold -- starve a tumor
The condition tuberous sclerosis, due to mutation in one of two tumor suppressor genes, TSC1 or TSC2, causes the growth of non-malignant tumors throughout the body and skin.

Study of US popular music links luxury alcohol brands with degrading sex
In a study published online today in the international journal Addiction, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh reported that the average US adolescent is heavily exposed to alcohol brand references in popular music.

MAYA project, innovation in timber construction systems with enhanced acoustic performance
The MAYA project aims to improve knowledge on acoustic performance of timber construction systems, and to boost innovation and development of new solutions, both for new building works as well as rehabilitation.

Failing to bridge the gap between test tubes, animals, and human biology
Reasoning used in many highly cited cancer publications to support the relevance of animal and test tube experiments to human cancer is questionable, according to a study by researchers from Universite Libre de Bruxelles published in the open-access journal PLoS Computational Biology on Oct.

Clearing house for DNA gets a boost
Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute is home to DNASU -- a sort of genetic Library of Congress that holds over 147,000 plasmids as well as full genome collections from numerous organisms and proteins associated with many leading human diseases.

Leaf litter ants advance case for rainforest conservation in Borneo
Studies of ant populations in Borneo reveal an unexpected resilience to areas of rainforest degraded by repeated intensive logging, a finding which conservationists hope will lead governments to conserve these areas rather than allow them to be cleared and used for cash crop plantations.

NOAA releases status on Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary marine resources
NOAA scientists have found that pressure from increasing coastal populations, ship and boat groundings, marine debris, poaching, and climate change are critically threatening the health of the Florida Keys ecosystem.

Study finds minority consumers will voluntarily pay more for goods and services to assert status
It has been well-documented that minorities are subject to discrimination in product pricing and customer service.

Crater shapes explained, how carnivorous plants bite, and doubts about faster-than-light neutrinos
Asteroid crater shapes may differ based on how tightly packed the asteroids are, carnivorous plants snap shut in at least two distinct ways, and recent revelations about faster-than-light neutrinos don't jive with established physical laws.

Don't panic: The animal's guide to hitchhiking
New research suggests that hitchhiking, once believed to be the exclusive domain of beat poets and wanderers, is in fact an activity that daring members of the animal kingdom engage in.

Emerging public health crisis linked to mortgage default and foreclosure
Researchers warn of a looming health crisis in the wake of rising mortgage delinquencies and home foreclosures.

Hospital patients suffer in shift shuffle
Patient handovers have increased significantly as a result of the restrictions on the number of hours residents are allowed to work.

Calorie count plus points based on added sugars, sodium, and saturated and trans fats recommended as new front-of-package nutrition labeling system
Federal agencies should develop a new nutrition rating system with symbols to display on the front of food and beverage packaging that graphically convey calorie counts by serving size and a

Chemists find new dimension to rules for reactions
Theoretical chemists at Emory University have solved an important mystery about the rates of chemical reactions and the so-called Polanyi rules.

Scripps Research scientists discover inflammation controlled differently in brain and other tissues
A team led by scientists from the Scripps Research Institute has identified a new metabolic pathway for controlling brain inflammation, suggesting strategies for treating it.

BU uncovers mechanisms used by Wolbachia bacteria to control vectors of deadly diseases
Researchers at Boston University have made discoveries that provide the foundation towards novel approaches to control insects that transmit deadly diseases such as dengue fever and malaria through their study of the Wolbachia bacteria.

Laser makes sure food is fresh
Minced meat, bread, fruit juice and many other foods are packaged in a protective gas which extends their shelf life.

Nearby planet-forming disk holds water for thousands of oceans
For the first time, astronomers have detected around a burgeoning solar system a sprawling cloud of water vapor that's cold enough to form comets, which could eventually deliver oceans to dry planets.

New drug strategies for Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis examined at UH
Researchers at the University of Houston are recommending a new strategy for developing drugs to treat cancer, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's and cardiovascular diseases.

High to moderate levels of stress lead to higher mortality rate
A new study concludes that men who experience persistently moderate or high levels of stressful life events over a number of years have a 50 percent higher mortality rate.

Inconsistent evaluations may affect promotion of women in law firms
Partners in Wall Street law firms write equally nice things about the work of their male and female junior lawyers, but when they use hard numbers, they rate the men higher, according to a study in the current Social Psychological and Personality Science (published by SAGE).

Acid-suppressing medications may be overprescribed for infants
A new commentary cautions against the over-diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux disease and over-prescription of acid-suppressing drugs in children under one year of age.

Rice's Zheng wins Packard Fellowship
Rice University's Junrong Zheng will use a five-year Packard Award to build a laser-based spectroscopic device to easily see the conformation -- the shape and orientation -- of any molecule, no matter how complex.

Successful pregnancy possible after kidney transplant
A new study recently published in the American Journal of Transplantation reveals that the ability to successfully carry a pregnancy after kidney transplantation is very high, with 73.5 percent live birth rates.

NOAA, NASA: Significant ozone hole remains over Antarctica
The Antarctic ozone hole, which yawns wide every Southern Hemisphere spring, reached its annual peak on Sept.

Elevated hormone levels add up to increased breast cancer risk
Post-menopausal women with high levels of hormones such as estrogen or testosterone are known to have a higher risk of breast cancer.

Thomas Jefferson University Hospital adopts new imaging agent to improve detection of bladder cancer
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital is one of a select number of medical centers nationwide offering a newly approved optical imaging agent for the detection of papillary cancer of the bladder in patients with known or suspected bladder cancer.

AMIA honors informatics professionals who are improving health, changing the world
AMIA, the association for informatics professionals, highlights four individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to health care through the application of informatics.

Early mortality risk reduced up to 40 percent through increased physical activity and sports
Even though previous studies have been shown the link between regular exercises and improved health the exact dose-response relation remains unclear.

Are acid-suppressing drugs prescribed too often in infants?
Frequent spitting up, irritability, and unexplained crying in infants can be very distressing to parents.

Culture in humans and apes has the same evolutionary roots
Culture is not a trait that is unique to humans.

Wakey, wakey!
Writing in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Biomedical Engineering and Technology, researchers in India describe an alarm clock that monitors your brain activity and triggers its alarm within a time window you set in advance but only when your brain is in a more easily roused state rather than deep sleep.

Flight control software to help pilots stick landings aboard carrier decks
Select pilots will test new flight control software intended to facilitate aircraft landings on Navy carrier decks with unprecedented accuracy.

If coordination fails
The Norwegian health-care services are organized in primary and secondary service levels.

NASA, NOAA data show significant Antarctic ozone hole remains
The Antarctic ozone hole, which yawns wide every Southern Hemisphere spring, reached its annual peak on Sept.

Face-to-face with an ancient human
A reconstruction based on the skull of Norway's best-preserved Stone Age skeleton makes it possible to study the features of a boy who lived outside Stavanger 7,500 years ago.

Genetically engineered pigs have brought us to the cusp of xenotransplantation
Xenotransplantation (the use of animal organs, tissues or cells in humans) has made great strides in the past decade.

NOAA's sanctuary research vessel to assist in recovery of cannon from Queen Anne's Revenge
NOAA will help the State of North Carolina recover a large cannon from the Queen Anne's Revenge, the sunken flagship of the notorious pirate captain Blackbeard.

Improved living environments can reduce health problems for women and children
Low-income women with children who moved from high-poverty to lower-poverty neighborhoods experienced notable long-term improvements in aspects of their health; namely, reductions in diabetes and extreme obesity, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Chicago and partner institutions.

First Ebola-like virus native to Europe discovered
A team of international researchers has discovered a new Ebola-like virus -- Lloviu virus -- in bats from northern Spain.

Philadelphia scientists to be honored with the John Scott Award
Two internationally recognized scientists with strong Philadelphia ties are to receive the John Scott Award this year.

Led by Dartmouth's James Haxby, neuroscientists unlock shared brain codes
Professor James Haxby at Dartmouth College has found that different individuals' brains use the same, common neural code to recognize complex visual images.

Federal government releases environmental, health, and safety research strategy for nanotechnology
The federal government today released a national strategy for ensuring that environmental, health, and safety research needs are fully identified and addressed in the fast-growing field of nanotechnology.

Can aromatherapy produce harmful indoor air pollutants?
Spas that offer massage therapy using fragrant essential oils, called aromatherapy, may have elevated levels of potentially harmful indoor air pollutants such as volatile organic compounds and ultrafine particles, according to an article in Environmental Engineering Science, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert Inc.

Researcher inspired by life in a glass house awarded £1.3 million
A scientist at the University of Bristol has been awarded £1.3 ($2) million to unlock the secrets of minuscule algae cells that have the remarkable ability to produce silica -- the fundamental constituent of glass.

Scary is exciting -- sheep's head is not for wimps
Sheep's head is not for wimps. Until now very few of us have been tempted by this traditional Norwegian dish.

Giant flakes make graphene oxide gel
Slices of graphene oxide in a solution arrange themselves into a nematic liquid crystal.

Partnership delivers asthma care to children whose care centers were flooded by Katrina
The disappearance of reliable health-care services in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina left many children with asthma no choice but to seek treatment in emergency rooms across town -- if they sought care at all.

Women do not get enough vitamin D during the menopause
A healthy diet is especially important during the menopause -- a period in which the risk of suffering from health problems increases.

Cheap clothes come at a price
Consumers should curb their desire to buy ever more clothes, and demand more responsibility from the big clothing chains.

Different reading devices, different modes of reading?
Do we really read differently from a screen than from paper?

African-American women with gestational diabetes face high long-term diabetes risk
African-American women who develop gestational diabetes mellitus during pregnancy face a 52 percent increased risk of developing diabetes in the future compared to white women who develop GDM during pregnancy, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published online in the journal Diabetologia.

New Zealand use of health IT provides model
A new report suggests that New Zealand can provide a valuable model for health policy makers and IT professionals seeking to reduce costs and increase the quality of health care in the United States and other nations.

46 outstanding life scientists elected to EMBO membership
EMBO acknowledges the outstanding scientific contribution of 46 life scientists from 14 countries by awarding them life-long EMBO membership.

National Science Foundation makes first awards in Sustainability Research Coordination Program
Semi-arid regions bordering the Gulf of Mexico; Pan American biofuels and bioenergy; marine renewable resources in sub-arctic systems; the Marcellus shale; sustainable water systems, energy systems, and manufacturing systems.

Tracing the first North American hunters
A new and astonishing chapter has been added to North American prehistory in regards to the first hunters and their hunt for the now extinct giant mammoth-like creatures -- the mastodons. professor Eske Willerslev's team from the Centre for GeoGenetics, University of Copenhagen, has in collaboration with Michael Waters' team at the Center for the Study of the First Americans, University of Texas A&M, shown that the hunt for large mammals occurred at least 1,000 years before previously assumed.

American College of Physicians applauds CMS's improved shared savings program
The American College of Physicians today applauded CMS for making substantial improvements in its long-awaited Final Rule on Accountable Care Organizations.

Manufacturing goes viral
Using a simple, single-step process, engineers and scientists at the University of California at Berkeley recently developed a technique to direct benign, filamentous viruses called M13 phages to serve as structural building blocks for materials with a wide range of properties.

Cloudy with a chance of sudden death
Researchers from Rice University and Emory University plan to test whether a new

Clemson's Intelligent River technology to provide real-time monitoring of river
The National Science Foundation has awarded $3 million to Clemson University to design, develop and deploy a basinwide network of computerized sensors to monitor water quality along the entire length of the Savannah River.

Study proves new technology kills bacteria
Clinical trial results presented at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America demonstrated that using antimicrobial copper surfaces in intensive care unit rooms reduced the amount of bacteria in the rooms by 97 percent, resulting in a 41 percent reduction in the hospital acquired infection rate.

Space weather prediction model improves NOAA's forecast skill
NOAA is now using a sophisticated forecast model that substantially improves predictions of space weather impacts on Earth.

Brain study reveals how successful students overcome math anxiety
Using brain-imaging technology for the first time with people experiencing mathematics anxiety, scientists have gained new insights into how some students are able to overcome their fears and succeed in math.

Rutgers establishes stem cell repository for the study of mental health disorders
Rutgers University Cell and DNA Repository has established a stem cell repository for the National Institute of Mental Health that scientists say will provide better clues into the causes and treatment of mental health disorders affecting millions of Americans.

Pitt/UPMC: Exceptional cognitive and physical health in old age leaves immunological fingerprint
Exceptional cognitive and physical function in old age leaves a tell-tale immunologic fingerprint, say researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

Women & Infants participating in National Pelvic Floor Disorders Network
Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island has been selected by the National Institutes of Health to participate in the national Pelvic Floor Disorders Network.

Tips from the journals of the American Society for Microbiology
The following are tips from the journals of the American Society for Microbiology.

New study shows soy protein improves lipid profile in healthy individuals
A new study published online in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that soy protein compared to dairy milk protein supplementation improves the lipid profile in healthy individuals.

Physician honored for medical contributions in US and Armenia
Richard Babayan, M.D., was honored recently by the Armenian American Health Professional Organization for his exceptional contributions to medicine in both the United States and in Armenia.

ASE-EAE to issue guidelines for the echocardiographic evaluation of cancer patients
The European Association of Echocardiography has announced that it is working together with the American Society of Echocardiography to issue joint recommendations on the usefulness of serial echocardiographic evaluations and the potential impact of more advanced ultrasound technologies (in particular Speckle Tracking Echocardiography) in patients undergoing cancer therapy.

National Sleep Foundation brings the sleep community together for Sleep Health and Safety 2012
The National Sleep Foundation will hold its annual Sleep Health & Safety conference March 2-3, 2012 at the JW Marriott in Washington, D.C.

Autistic brains develop more slowly than healthy brains UCLA researchers say
Researchers at UCLA have found a possible explanation for why autistic children act and think differently than their peers -- for the first time, they show that the connections between regions of the brain that are important for language and social skills grow much more slowly in boys with autism, when compared to healthy children.

Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center review the microbiome and its possible role in cancers
In the Oct. 20 edition of the journal Cell Host and Microbe, Drs.

Experts weigh the heavy impact words have when creating policies for better health
Are words weighing down America's ability to improve its health?

Homicide, suicide outpace traditional causes of death in pregnant, postpartum women
Violent deaths are outpacing traditional causes of maternal mortality, such as hemorrhage and pre-eclampsia, and conflicts with intimate partner are often a factor, researchers report.

Letrozole shows long-lasting survival benefit compared with tamoxifen in patients with most common type of breast cancer
In the long term, the aromatase inhibitor letrozole is more effective at preventing the return of breast cancer and significantly improves survival time compared with tamoxifen in postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive early breast cancer, according to the 12-year results of the Breast International Group 1-98 study published online first in the Lancet Oncology.

I vs. we: Individuals perform better when focused on team's effort
Individuals perform better and are more confident when they practice motivational tactics focused not on them but on the team they belong to, according to Michigan State University researchers.

Scientists determine family tree for most-endangered bird family in the world
Using one of the largest DNA data sets for a group of birds and employing next-generation sequencing methods, Smithsonian scientists and collaborators have determined the evolutionary family tree for one of the most strikingly diverse and endangered bird families in the world, the Hawaiian honeycreepers.

UT Southwestern study shows estrogen works in the brain to keep weight in check
A recent UT Southwestern Medical Center study found that estrogen regulates energy expenditure, appetite and body weight, while insufficient estrogen receptors in specific parts of the brain may lead to obesity.

University of Iowa, NYU biologists describe key mechanism in early embryo development
New York University and University of Iowa biologists have identified a key mechanism controlling early embryonic development that is critical in determining how structures such as appendages -- arms and legs in humans -- grow in the right place and at the right time.

Biggest ever study shows no link between mobile phone use and tumors
There is no link between long-term use of mobile phones and tumors of the brain or central nervous system, finds new research published on today.

'Trading places' most common pattern for couples dealing with male depression: UBC study
University of British Columbia researchers have identified three major patterns that emerge among couples dealing with male depression.

Wiley announces new agreement with JISC Collections
Wiley-Blackwell, the scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons Inc., and JISC Collections have successfully concluded a new three year NESLi2 agreement for the higher education and further education communities in the UK.

Novel therapeutic target identified to decrease triglycerides and increase 'good' cholesterol
Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center today announce findings published in the Oct.

Texas A&M study: Hunters present at least 800 years earlier than previously thought
The tip of a bone point fragment found embedded in a mastodon rib from an archaeological site in Washington state shows that hunters were present in North America at least 800 years before Clovis, confirming that the first inhabitants arrived earlier to North America than previously thought, says a team of researchers led by a Texas A&M University archaeologist.

Association of quantity of alcohol and frequency of consumption with cancer mortality
A paper from the National Institutes of Health in the United States has evaluated the separate and combined effects of the frequency of alcohol consumption and the average quantity of alcohol drunk per occasion and how that relates to mortality risk from individual cancers as well as all cancers.

West Nile virus transmission linked to land use patterns and 'super-spreaders'
After its initial appearance in New York in 1999, West Nile virus spread across the United States in just a few years and is now well established throughout North and South America. 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