Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 02, 2011
UofL scientist discovers first known mammalian skull from Late Cretaceous in South America
A finding to be published in Nature provides important new information on the evolution of mammals.

Highly selective catalyst developed for ring-closing olefin metathesis
Research conducted at Boston College, in collaboration with researchers at MIT and the University of Oxford, has produced an efficient and highly selective catalyst for ring closing olefin metathesis, one of the most widely used methods to access biologically active molecules.

Manufacturing microscale medical devices for faster tissue engineering
A team of researchers has modified a manufacturing technique called two-photon polymerization to create finely detailed micro-structures, such as scaffolds for tissue engineering, more quickly and efficiently than was previously possible.

Study shows new medication effectively treats underlying cause of cystic fibrosis
A new study has confirmed that the drug, ivacaftor (VX-770), significantly improves lung function in some people with cystic fibrosis.

Animal study suggests that newborn period may be crucial time to prevent later diabetes
Pediatric researchers who tested newborn animals with an existing human drug used in adults with diabetes report that this drug, when given very early in life, prevents diabetes from developing in adult animals.

Chantix unsuitable for first-line smoking cessation use
The poor safety profile of the smoking-cessation drug varenicline (Chantix™) makes it unsuitable for first-line use, according to a study published in the Nov.

NIH study examines nicotine as a gateway drug
A landmark study in mice identifies a biological mechanism that could help explain how tobacco products could act as gateway drugs, increasing a person's future likelihood of abusing cocaine and perhaps other drugs as well, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health.

Jawbone found in England is from the earliest known modern human in northwestern Europe
A piece of jawbone excavated from a prehistoric cave in England is the earliest evidence for modern humans in Europe, according to an international science team.

Developing unbiased measures of customer likes and dislikes
Companies around the world rely on various marketing strategies to make their brands more appealing to customers, and now, according to a study published in the online journal PLoS ONE, they may have an actual physiological method they can use to test their success.

Maryland climate plan passes key tests in UMD studies
Maryland's plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020 meets a series of benchmark tests set by state lawmakers, concludes a new pair of studies by the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Environmental Research.

Unsaturated fat breakdown leads to complications of acute pancreatitis in obese patients
The toxic breakdown products of unsaturated fats contribute to the higher likelihood of severe inflammation, cell death and multi-system organ failure among acute pancreatitis patients who are obese, say researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Study shows promise for teen suicide prevention
A UCLA study shows that a family-based intervention done while a suicidal youth is still being treated in the emergency room as successful in linking troubled youths to outpatient treatment, with the goal of ending further life-threatening attempts.

Maternal separation stresses the baby
Despite common practice, new research published in Biological Psychiatry provides new evidence that separating infants from their mothers is stressful to the baby.

Genome-scale network of rice genes to speed the development of biofuel crops
Researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute have developed the first genome-scale model for predicting the functions of genes and gene networks in a grass species.

New evidence for the earliest modern humans in Europe
The timing, process and archeology of the peopling of Europe by early modern humans have been actively debated for more than a century.

Hospital tests reveal the secrets of an Egyptian mummy
An ancient Egyptian mummy has had quite an afterlife, traveling more than 6,000 miles, spending six decades in private hands, and finally, in 1989, finding a home at the World Heritage Museum (now the Spurlock Museum) at the University of Illinois.

Cardiovascular magnetic resonance now an important first-line test
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) has undergone substantial development and offers important advantages compared with other well-established imaging modalities.

Researchers reveal potential treatment for sickle cell disease
Few options are available to prevent the painful episodes and organ damage that are common with sickle cell disease.

Texas A&M professor helping to unravel causes of Ice Age extinctions
Did climate change or humans cause the extinctions of the large-bodied Ice Age mammals such as the woolly rhinoceros and woolly mammoth?

Pitt research team finds ways to reduce computing energy consumption while saving money
Lowering energy consumption associated with computer data storage (specifically, cloud computing) and saving millions of dollars are possible now, thanks to new memory technology, a field that researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have been exploring through a four-year, $1.9 million grant from the National Science Foundation awarded in 2009 titled,

Unraveling the causes of the Ice Age megafauna extinctions
An extensive, inter-disciplinary research team, involving over 40 academic institutions around the world and led by Professor Eske Willerslev's Centre for GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum, University of Copenhagen, have tried to tackle the contentious question in the biggest study of its kind on the cause of the extinctions of the iconic Ice Age mammals.

Software to prevent abuse at the click of a mouse
Teaming up with investigators from the State Office of Criminal Investigation in Berlin, Fraunhofer researchers have come up with an automated assistance system for image and video evaluation that can detect child-pornographic images from among even large volumes of data.

Radiation plus hormone therapy greatly improves survival
Men with locally advanced or high-risk prostate cancer who receive combined radiation and hormone therapy live longer and are less likely to die from their disease, shows clinical research led by radiation oncologists at the Princess Margaret Hospital Cancer Program, University Health Network.

Dirt prevents allergy
Allergy research: if infants encounter a wide range of bacteria they are less at risk of developing allergic disease later in life.

Institut Pasteur Korea and Sanofi open a new research collaboration to combat HBV
One of the most common and serious infectious diseases, hepatitis B, is to be targeted in a new collaborative venture between the internationally-renowned translational research institute, Institut Pasteur Korea, and the Korean arm of the leading global health-care company, Sanofi-Aventis Korea.

VLT observations of gamma-ray burst reveal surprising ingredients of early galaxies
Astronomers have used the light of a distant gamma-ray burst as a probe to study the make-up of very distant galaxies.

Humans and climate contributed to extinctions of large ice-age mammals, new study finds
Both climate change and humans were responsible for the extinction of some large mammals, according to research that is the first of its kind to use genetic, archeological, and climatic data together to infer the population history of large Ice-Age mammals.

Mysterious absorption lines could illuminate 90-year puzzle
The discovery of 13 diffuse interstellar bands with the longest wavelengths to date could someday solve a 90-year-old mystery.

News tips from the journal mBio
The latest issue of mBio includes the articles,

Elsevier announces new 2012 Frontlist eBooks collection on SciVerse ScienceDirect
Elsevier, the world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, announced today that its 2012 eBook Frontlist collections are available for advance purchase on SciVerse ScienceDirect, Elsevier's online platform for scientific content.

Born to roar
Lions' and tigers' fearsome roars are due to their unusual vocal cords, according to a study published in the Nov.

Two tech companies launched through Pitt research in 2011
The number of University of Pittsburgh innovations that has moved from the lab to commercialization increased by 31 percent in fiscal year 2011, resulting in 105 licenses or options to industry and two start-up companies for Pitt technologies.

Precise early diagnosis of psychotic disorders possible
Functional psychosis can be diagnosed from the first indications of the patient, thanks to affective symptomatology.

Study reveals details of alternative splicing circuitry that promotes cancer's Warburg effect
Cancer cells maintain their life-style of extremely rapid growth and proliferation thanks to an enzyme called PK-M2 (pyruvate kinase M2) that alters the cells' ability to metabolize glucose -- a phenomenon known as the Warburg effect.

Young and old work together to challenge stereotypes of age
Not many 10-year-olds may have considered what it's like to be old.

New material for air cleaner filters that captures flu viruses
With flu season just around the corner, scientists are reporting development of a new material for the fiber in face masks, air conditioning filters and air cleaning filters that captures influenza viruses before they can get into people's eyes, noses and mouths and cause infection.

UNH-led project to boost Northeast organic dairy industry
Researchers from the University of New Hampshire are leading a multi-state project that aims to help organic dairy farmers better produce and market their milk.

New study reveals coral reefs may support much more biodiversity than previously thought
Smithsonian scientists and colleagues conducted the first DNA barcoding survey of crustaceans living on samples of dead coral taken from the Indian, Pacific and Caribbean oceans.

Chemical engineers help decipher mystery of neurofibrillary tangle formation in Alzheimer's brains
Neurofibrillary tanglesare a pathological hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. Researchers have long puzzled over just what produces the tangles.

Research reveals autistic individuals are in fact superior in multiple areas
We must stop considering the different brain structure of autistic individuals to be a deficiency, as research reveals that many autistics -- not just

UT Dallas director honored by alma mater for communication research
The University of Nebraska will honor Dr. Thomas Campbell, executive director of the UT Dallas Callier Center for Communication Disorders, for a long record of research and academic achievement at the university's annual Alumni Masters Week.

Ohio State researchers design a viral vector to treat a genetic form of blindness
Researchers in Ohio have developed a viral vector designed to deliver a gene into the eyes of people born with an inherited, progressive form of blindness that affects mainly males.

Rhode Island Hospital study finds legalizing medical marijuana does not increase use among youth
A Rhode Island Hospital physician/researcher will present findings from a study investigating whether legalizing medical marijuana in Rhode Island will increase its use among youths.

Wayne State creating computer-based drug intervention for at-risk post-partum women
A team of researchers at Wayne State University's Parent Health Lab in the School of Medicine have developed a novel indirect screener that identifies women at risk for drug use by evaluating correlates of illicit drug use rather than drug use itself.

Fruit fly intestine may hold secret to the fountain of youth
One of the few reliable ways to extend an organism's lifespan, be it a fruit fly or a mouse, is to restrict calorie intake.

Solar concentrator increases collection with less loss
Converting sunlight into electricity is not economically attractive because of the high cost of solar cells, but a recent, purely optical approach to improving luminescent solar concentrators may ease the problem, according to researchers at Argonne National Laboratories and Penn State.

Age and BMI can predict likelihood of developing gestational diabetes new research suggests
Age and body mass index are important risk factors for gestational diabetes mellitus particularly amongst South Asian and black African women finds new research published Nov.

Journal of the Chinese Chemical Society expands international reach with Wiley-VCH
Wiley-VCH, part of the scientific and technical publishing business of John Wiley & Sons Inc. and the Chemical Society located in Taipei have signed an agreement to closely cooperate and jointly publish the Journal of the Chinese Chemical Society.

Disco beat good for CPR, but time to throw in the towel on musical aids
Disco science is better than no music at all at helping to deliver the required number of chest compressions to save a heart attack victim's life before he or she gets to hospital, reveals research published online in Emergency Medicine Journal.

GSA field guide explores the geological curiosities of Turkey
This field-trip guide explores the tectonics of Samos and the Menderes Massif, two fascinating areas within the eastern Mediterranean section of the Tethyan orogen.

Women's chin, abdomen are good indicators of excessive hair growth
Examining the chin and upper and lower abdomen is a reliable, minimally invasive way to screen for excessive hair growth in women, a key indicator of too much male hormone, researchers report.

Amazing catalysts: American Chemical Society's latest Prized Science video
A new episode in the 2011 edition of a popular Prized Science video series from the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, focuses on research that led to catalysts involved in making two of the most widely used plastics, as well as biodegradable detergents and fuels.

MU studies link depression and breast cancer outcomes
This year, more than 230,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and nearly 40,000 women will not survive their battle with cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

A widely used bee antibiotic may harm rather than help
In a report published Nov. 2 in the online journal PLoS ONE, researchers report that a widely used in-hive medication may make bees more susceptible to toxicity of commonly used pesticides, and that this interaction may be at least partially responsible for the continuing honey bee population loss.

NIH scientists outline steps toward Epstein-Barr virus vaccine
Epstein-Barr virus infects nine out of ten people worldwide at some point during their lifetimes.

Graphene applications in electronics and photonics
The past few years have seen an explosion of research into the properties and potential applications of graphene, which has been touted as a superior alternative to silicon.

USC scientist's revolutionary drug pump draws NSF support
Dr. Ellis Meng of USC was selected last month to receive the NSF's new Innovation Corps award.

New therapy marks a milestone in fight against cystic fibrosis
Results of Phase 3 clinical trial published in Nov. 3, 2011, New England Journal of Medicine, find ivacaftor provides major improvement in signs and symptoms for cystic fibrosis patients.

A living factory
The time it takes for new products to come to market is getting ever shorter.

Global flu watch: Report of rare flu coinfection in Southeast Asia hot spot
Researchers conducting influenza-like illness surveillance in Cambodia have confirmed a rare incidence of individuals becoming infected with a seasonal influenza and the pandemic strain at the same time, a reminder of the ongoing risk of distinct flu viruses combining in human hosts to produce a more lethal strain, according to a report in the November issue of the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

A hormone ensures its future
Weizmann Institute scientists researching the structure of a vital brain region discover a new role for the hormone oxytocin.

Mediterranean diet and exercise can reduce sleep apnea symptoms
Eating a Mediterranean diet combined with physical activity can help to improve some of the symptoms of sleep apnea, according to new research.

Benefits of nut consumption for people with abdominal obesity, high blood sugar, high blood pressure
For the first time, scientists report a link between eating nuts and higher levels of serotonin in the bodies of patients with metabolic syndrome.

IFT to host Food Policy Impact Conference in DC Dec. 1st
On Dec. 1, 2011, the Institute of Food Technologists is hosting it's first-ever Food Policy Impact Conference in Washington DC at the Sheraton Crystal City.

Univesity of Notre Dame researchers form new partnership to help trauma patients
University of Notre Dame researchers and trauma physicians at South Bend's Memorial Hospital have formed a unique partnership to use a new medical technology to help save the lives of trauma patients.

AGI boosts STEM education with NASA Triad site
The American Geosciences Institute has launched an online professional development guide for workshops on NASA geoscience, technology, engineering and mathematics content.

UCLA engineering researchers awarded $4.5 million to develop stronger carbon nanotube materials
Researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have been awarded $4.5 million over four years by the Department of Defense to strengthen carbon nanotube yarns and sheets that hold great promise for advancing satellite technology.

Watching the birth of an iceberg
After discovering an emerging crack that cuts across the floating ice shelf of Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica, NASA's Operation IceBridge has flown a follow-up mission and made the first-ever detailed airborne measurements of a major iceberg calving in progress.

Caltech researchers find pulsating response to stress in bacteria
Turning on the heater is a reasonable response to a cold environment: switch to a toastier state until it warms up outside.

Thousands of lives could be saved if rest of UK adopted average diet in England
Around 4,000 deaths could be prevented every year if the UK population adopted the average diet eaten in England, concludes research published in BMJ Open.

Humanities researchers and digital technologies: Building infrastructures for a new age
Europe's leading scientists have pledged to embrace and expand the role of technology in the Humanities.

Homo sapiens arrived earlier in Europe than previously known
Members of our species (Homo sapiens) arrived in Europe several millennia earlier than previously thought.

Rutgers neuroscientist says protein could prevent secondary damage after stroke
Rutgers University neuroscientist Bonnie Firestein says a protein that regulates nerve cells and assists in overall brain function may be key to preventing the long-term damage of stroke and hopes her work leads to the development of an effective therapeutic intervention.

TRMM Satellite sees Tropical Storm Keila form in the Arabian Sea
NASA's TRMM Satellite captured moderate rainfall and some high, towering clouds in the Arabian Sea's newborn Tropical Storm Keila.

GSA Bulletin Highlights: New research posted ahead of print
Highlights for GSA Bulletin articles published ahead of print between Sept.

Scientists prevent cerebral palsy-like brain damage in mice
Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that a protein may help prevent the kind of brain damage that occurs in babies with cerebral palsy.

Tulane-led study first to confirm effectiveness and safety of new treatment for hemophilia
An international research team led by Dr. Cindy Leissinger of Tulane University School of Medicine, along with Dr.

Video game playing tied to creativity
Both boys and girls who play video games tend to be more creative, regardless of whether the games are violent or nonviolent, according to new research by Michigan State University scholars.

UT study: Climate change affects ants and biodiversity
In the eastern US, ants are integral to plant biodiversity because they help disperse seeds.

BGI to play a pivotal role in demonstrating the superior performance of RNA-Seq
BGI, the world's largest genomic organization, today announced its participation and pivotal role in demonstrating the superior performance of RNA-Seq in predicting patient outcomes as part of the Sequencing Quality Control project launched by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Understanding emotions without language
Does understanding emotions depend on the language we speak, or is our perception the same regardless of language and culture?

When the fat comes out of food, what goes in?
When fat, sugar and gluten come out of salad dressings, sauces, cookies, beverages, and other foods with the new genre of package labels shouting what's not there, what goes into

Astrobiologists discover 'sweet spots' for the formation of complex organic molecules in the galaxy
Scientists within the New York Center for Astrobiology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have compiled years of research to help locate areas in outer space that have extreme potential for complex organic molecule formation.

Measuring outcome in the treatment of depression via the Web
A newly published paper from Rhode Island Hospital reports that Web-based assessments for outcome measurements of patients in treatment for depression are valid and reliable.

Mayo researchers discover tactic to delay age-related disorders
Researchers at Mayo Clinic have shown that eliminating cells that accumulate with age could prevent or delay the onset of age-related disorders and disabilities.

Exenatide (Byetta) has rapid, powerful anti-inflammatory effect, UB study shows
Exenatide, a drug commonly prescribed to help patients with Type 2 diabetes improve blood sugar control, also has a powerful and rapid anti-inflammatory effect, a University at Buffalo study has shown.

Evolution offers clues to leading cause of death during childbirth
Unusual features of the human placenta may be the underlying cause of postpartum hemorrhage, the leading cause of maternal deaths during childbirth, according to evolutionary research at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Mayo Clinic researchers discover why measles spreads so quickly
Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered why measles, perhaps the most contagious viral disease in the world, spreads so quickly.

Unraveling Batten disease
Weizmann Institute scientists reveal the actions of a gene implicated in Batten disease, a rare, degenerative childhood disorder.

UCSB physicists identify room temperature quantum bits in widely used semiconductor
A discovery by physicists at UC Santa Barbara may earn silicon carbide -- a semiconductor commonly used by the electronics industry -- a role at the center of a new generation of information technologies designed to exploit quantum physics for tasks such as ultrafast computing and nanoscale sensing.

Continuous use of nitroglycerin increases severity of heart attacks, Stanford study shows
When given for hours as a continuous dose, the heart medication nitroglycerin backfires -- increasing the severity of subsequent heart attacks, according to a study of the compound in rats by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Geologists find ponds not the cause of arsenic poisoning in India's groundwater
The source of arsenic in India's groundwater continues to elude scientists more than a decade after the toxin was discovered in the water supply of the Bengal delta in India.

Scientists explore whether what heals the head can also heal the heart
What do heart disease and dementia have in common? Perhaps more than meets the eye.

BUSM researcher awarded 2 NIH grants totaling over $11 million
Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) researcher Robert Lafyatis, MD, recently was awarded two grants from the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Analysis reveals malaria, other diseases as ancient, adaptive and persistent foes
One of the most comprehensive analyses yet done of the ancient history of insect-borne disease concludes for the first time that malaria is not only native to the New World, but it has been present long before humans existed and has evolved through birds and monkeys.

Arabian Sea tropical cyclones are intensified by air pollution, study shows
A recent increase in the intensity of tropical cyclones in the Arabian Sea may be a side effect of increasing air pollution over the Indian sub-continent, a new multi-institutional study has found.

3-D long-term bone marrow culture to analyze stromal cell biological function
In work published in the November 2011 issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine, Yukio Hirabayashi and co-investigators from Nihon University School of Medicine, Osaka Prefecture University and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology have developed a new three-dimensional bone marrow culture system.

Nicotine primes brain for cocaine use: Molecular basis of gateway sequence of drug use
Cigarettes and alcohol serve as gateway drugs, which people use before progressing to the use of marijuana, cocaine and other illicit substances; this progression is called the

Thousand-color sensor reveals contaminants in Earth and sea
A Tel Aviv University researcher has developed a special camera that can detect more than 1,000 colors -- and can diagnose contaminants and other environmental hazards in real time.

Link between air pollution and cyclone intensity in Arabian Sea
Pollution is making Arabian Sea cyclones more intense, according to a study in this week's issue of the journal Nature.

Born to roar
When lions and tigers roar loudly and deeply -- terrifying every creature within earshot -- they are somewhat like human babies crying for attention, although their voices are much deeper.

Major breakthrough improves software reliability and security
Columbia Engineering researchers have developed Peregrine, a new software system that will improve the reliability and security of multithreaded programs, benefiting computer users across the globe.

Interactive play with blocks found to facilitate development of spatial vocabulary
Parents and researchers have long speculated that play with construction toys might offer a rich environment that would support later learning in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines.

Report calls for creation of a biomedical research and patient data network for more accurate classification of diseases, move toward 'precision medicine'
A new data network that integrates emerging research on the molecular makeup of diseases with clinical data on individual patients could drive the development of a more accurate classification of disease and ultimately enhance diagnosis and treatment.

Current training programs may not prepare firefighters to combat stress
Current training programs may not effectively prepare firefighters for the range of scenarios they are likely to encounter, according to human factors/ergonomics researchers Michael R.

Radiotherapy combined with androgen deprivation therapy improves survival in men with prostate cancer when compared with ADT alone
Men with locally advanced prostate cancer and who receive radiotherapy on top of their androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) have greater overall survival compared with men on ADT alone.

Increased use of bikes for commuting offers economic, health benefits
Cutting out short auto trips and replacing them with mass transit and active transport would yield major health benefits, according to a study just published in the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

LSU researchers find link between personality and credit scores
In an upcoming study to be published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, researchers from LSU, Texas Tech University and Northern Illinois University have showcased the link between credit ratings and an individual's personality, and shown no connection between poor credit scores and theft.

Solar power could get boost from new light absorption design
Under the direction of a new professor at Northwestern University's McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, researchers have developed a new material that absorbs a wide range of wavelengths and could lead to more efficient and less expensive solar technology.

Study: Crop diversity myths persist in media
The conventional wisdom that says the 20th century was a disaster for crop diversity is nothing more than a myth, says Paul Heald, a University of Illinois expert in intellectual property law.

Teaching award to provide state-of-the-art labs and equipment for Pitt's Department of Computer Science
The University of Pittsburgh's Department of Computer Science in the School of Information Sciences has been selected as a 2011-12 Compute Unified Device Architecture Teaching Center by NVIDIA, the world leader in visual and high-performance computing.

NJIT grad students display work at 7th annual Research Day on Nov. 9
NJIT's seventh annual Graduate Student Research Day set for Nov.

Search for protection against diabetic retinopathy and nephropathy gets NIDDK/NIH boost
Joslin Diabetes Center has received a $3.9 million DP3 grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases/National Institutes of Health to identify protective factors that enable many a unique cohort of Joslin patients to remain free of commonly occurring diabetes complications in spite of living with diabetes for more than 50 years.

A fair approach to climate change
Free parking. Free entrance. Free food. And unlimited access to numerous fun-filled games and activities for children and their parents.

Peatland carbon storage is stabilized against catastrophic release of carbon
Concerns that global warming may have a domino effect -- unleashing 600 billion tons of carbon in vast expanses of peat in the Northern hemisphere and accelerating warming to disastrous proportions -- may be less justified than previously thought. 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