Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 08, 2011
Both sexism and racism are similar mental processes
Prejudiced attitudes are based on generalized suppositions about certain social groups and could well be a personality trait.

NIH-funded study shows pre-birth brain growth problems linked to autism
Children with autism have more brain cells and heavier brains compared to typically developing children, according to researchers partly funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Scripps Research scientist receives $1 million research grant from Novo Nordisk
Andrew Butler, an associate professor in the Scripps Research Institute's Department of Metabolism and Aging, has been awarded one million dollars in funding over the next two years to further his research into a novel protein with the potential to improve the understanding and future treatment of diabetes.

Kessler Foundation scientists awarded grants to study cognition in MS
Two neuropsychologists at Kessler Foundation Research Center were awarded more than $100,000 in grants by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Vaccine for metastatic breast, ovarian cancer shows promise
Treatment with a recombinant poxviral vaccine showed a positive response in both metastatic breast cancer and ovarian cancer, according to a trial published in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Bonnie Bassler chosen North American Laureate for L'OREAL-UNESCO award
Bonnie Bassler, immediate past president of the American Society for Microbiology and Chair of the Board of Governors of the American Academy of Microbiology, has been named the 2012 Laureate for North America of the L'OREAL‐UNESCO Awards

A fish test to make food safer
Nowadays, half of all the fish we eat comes from fish farms.

Long-Term carbon storage in Ganges basin may portend global warming worsening
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientists have found that carbon is stored in the soils and sediments of the Ganges-Brahmaputra basin for a surprisingly long time, making it likely that global warming could destabilize the pool of carbon there and in similar places on Earth, potentially increasing the rate of CO2 release into the atmosphere.

Fundamental discovery casts enzymes in new light
Just as a breeze causes leaves, branches and ultimately the tree to move, enzymes moving at the molecular level perform hundreds of chemical processes that have a ripple effect necessary for life.

Nene recovering! But climate change threatening future of Hawaii's forest birds
The Wildlife Society's annual conference is from Nov. 5 to 10 on Waikoloa, Hawaii.

Precipitation variability in Northeast, Southwest linked in 1,000-year analysis
An analysis of precipitation data collected from a lakebed in New York and a Rhode Island estuary has provided a link between the variability of precipitation in the Northeast with that of the Southwest.

1 neuron, 2 neurotransmitters and different effects on behavior
A team of researchers at the University of Western Ontario has demonstrated that elimination of one of the neurotransmitters in the part of the brain associated with Parkinson's disease may improve brain function without major adverse effects.

An enzyme in fish can demonstrate environmental toxins
The level of the enzyme carbonyl reductase (CBR) is elevated in the livers of fish that have been exposed to cleaned wastewater.

Twitter tweets chart the social whirl
The senior project of two University of Cincinnati computer science students aggregates Twitter 'tweets

CAMH study suggests increased risk of schizophrenia in heavy methamphetamine users
In the first worldwide study of its kind, scientists from Toronto's Center for Addiction and Mental Health found evidence that heavy methamphetamine users might have a higher risk of developing schizophrenia.

Four Hebrew University professors named winners of EMET Prize
Four professors at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem will receive on Nov.

Research targets brain region affected by Parkinson's
A team of University of Western Ontario researchers has demonstrated that elimination of one of the neurotransmitters in the part of the brain associated with Parkinson's disease may improve brain function without major adverse effects.

Carotid artery stenting possible for high risk patients with lesions
Patients who are not candidates for traditional surgery for severe carotid artery disease lesions could be treated with carotid artery stenting, according to results of a small feasibility study by cardiologists at UTHealth.

'If Hamlet give the first or second hit': The development of Burkitt's lymphoma
Burkitt's lymphoma is accompanied by an increase in the expression of a particular gene, the so-called c-myc gene.

A new role is hatched for female fruit flies
A team of New York University biologists has uncovered a previously unknown role for a set of cells within the female reproductive tract of fruit flies that affects the functioning of sperm and hence fertility.

What the brain sees after the eye stops looking
When we gaze at a shape and then the shape disappears, a strange thing happens: We see an afterimage in the complementary color.

Advanced Medical Care for At-Risk Newborns Nets Economic Benefits
Douglas Almond, Joseph J. Doyle, Jr., Amanda E. Kowalski and Heidi Williams will receive the 2011 Garfield Economic Impact Award on Dec.

Small, preliminary study finds abnormal number of neurons in brains of children with autism
In a small, preliminary study that included 13 male children, those with autism had an average 67 percent more prefrontal brain neurons and larger than average brain weight, than children without autism, according to a study in the Nov.

Generating ethanol from lignocellulose possible, but large cost reductions still needed
The production of ethanol from lignocellulose-rich materials such as wood residues, waste paper, used cardboard and straw cannot yet be achieved at the same efficiency and cost as from corn starch.

Promoting corporate sustainability on the web
Almost three-quarters of Standard & Poor's top 500 US companies mentioned one or more sustainability programs on their websites.

Western perspectives mean that Aboriginal contemporary art is misunderstood
The Western art world interprets art from a Western perspective.

Brain stimulator shown to reduce 'untreatable' epileptic seizures
A study published in the current issue of Neurology finds brain stimulation - already an approved treatment for Parkinson's and essential tremor - can offer significant relief to patients with epilepsy that is hard to treat with medication.

'Noise' tunes logic circuit made from virus genes
Scientists are relying on

Psychologists chase down sleep demons
What do Moby Dick, the Salem witch trials and alien abductions all have in common?

Surgical bypass procedure in the skull does not reduce risk of stroke recurrence
A surgical procedure aimed at bypassing a blocked artery that supplies blood to the brain did not lower the subsequent stroke rate after two years in people who previously had a minor stroke, compared to those who did not have the surgery.

XPert MTB/RIF cost effective for TB diagnosis in low- and middle-income settings
A study led by Frank Cobelens of the Amsterdam Institute of Global Health and Development, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and colleagues reports on the cost-effectiveness of implementing the Xpert MTB/RIF diagnostic test for tuberculosis in high burden countries.

Research team explores how microbial diversity defends against disease
Amphibians are among the most threatened creatures on earth, with some 40 percent of amphibian species threatened or endangered.

Educational language presents a challenge for multilingual students
Linguistic features that are typical of academic and school-related language use are used more systematically by students in higher school years.

Financial reimbursement increases cardiac stress tests
Financial reimbursement and ownership of cardiac imaging equipment appears to influence physicians' use of cardiac stress testing, according to a new study from Duke University Medical Center.

Using biochar to boost soil moisture
Scientists at the US Department of Agriculture are leading the way in learning more about

Surgical procedure does not appear to reduce risk of subsequent stroke after 'mini-stroke'
Patients with thickening and blockage of the internal carotid artery (supplies blood to the brain) and hemodynamic cerebral ischemia (insufficient blood flow to the brain, sub-type of stroke) who had a surgical procedure performed to improve blood flow in the artery did not have a reduced rate of stroke after two years compared to similar patients who received medical therapy alone, according to a study in the Nov.

Take the big blue test and change the world of a person with diabetes
People living with diabetes can help change the lives of others with diabetes in need as they do something in unison -- exercise.

And a nightingale sang... experienced males 'show off' to protect their territories
It is known that the solo repertoire of many male song bird species increases with age and experience.

Conservation scientists 'unanimous' in expectations of serious loss of biological diversity
The number of species being recognized as endangered is ever increasing and a new study, published in Conservation Biology, reveals the unanimity among conservation scientists of expectations of a major loss of biological diversity.

Different views of gender roles explain Swedish-Danish differences in parental leave policy
In 1974, Sweden became the first country in the world to allow men to go on parental leave.

Studies reveal potential of HPV vaccine to substantially reduce incidence of cervical cancer and suggest screening programs could be modified
The bivalent human papillomavirus vaccine offers excellent protection against the more serious immediate precursor to invasive cervical cancer, particularly when given to young adolescent girls before they become sexually active.

New techniques in soil analysis aim to boost UK's crop production
Researchers in Southampton and Nottingham can combine new techniques to accurately predict how much water roots take up from the soil.

Carbon monoxide -- the silent calmer?
Professor Itzhak Schnell of Tel Aviv University has discovered that low levels of the poisonous gas carbon monoxide actually have a narcotic effect that helps city-dwellers cope with environmental stress in an urban setting.

Autism linked with excess of neurons in prefrontal cortex
A study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego Autism Center of Excellence shows that brain overgrowth in boys with autism involves an abnormal, excess number of neurons in areas of the brain associated with social, communication and cognitive development.

Jefferson is first academic medical center to offer FDA-approved BRAF mutation for melanoma patients
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital is the first academic medical center in the United States to offer the recently-approved US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) diagnostic tool that tests melanoma patients for the BRAF mutation (which occurs in about half of all cases) and ultimately determines if they'll benefit from a new, potentially life-saving drug.

New research calls for lower limit to be set for South Asian obesity level
Study determines that BMI 23-28 kg/m2 should be limit compared with current limit of BMI 30 kg/m2.

EARTH: Where the rubber meets the road
What would it take for millions of Americans to make the switch from traditional gasoline-powered cars to natural gas vehicles (NGVs)?

Clean indoor air laws encourage bans on smoking at home
There has been concern that clean indoor air laws might encourage smokers to smoke more in their homes or other private venues.

Painkiller abuse treated by sustained buprenorphine/naloxone
People addicted to prescription painkillers reduce their opioid abuse when given sustained treatment with the medication buprenorphine plus naloxone, according to research published in yesterday's Archives of General Psychiatry and conducted by NIDA, part of the NIH.

UCSB psychology professors study gene-culture interaction
Two psychologists at UC Santa Barbara have provided a new twist on the old adage that people are products of both nature and nurture, in introducing a framework for understanding how these influences interact.

Soviet legacies still influence Russian welfare, but change is under way
During structural changes to the political and economic system in Russia in the 1990s and 2000s, many features of the socialist welfare state were radically transformed.

Holm oaks will gain ground in northern forests due to climate change
Holm oaks and other forests in lowland areas of Mediterranean mountains could expand by up to 350 percent due to global warming.

Troubled waters: New device brings flexibility, precision to contamination measurement
Rolf Halden and his colleagues from the Biodesign Institute® at Arizona State University and collaborator Nancy Denslow at the University of Florida, Gainesville, are testing a new device, designed to measure contaminants with unprecedented precision, accuracy and sensitivity.

Researchers find way to screen for broad range of cancer-causing genetic changes
Researchers in the United States have shown, for the first time, that it is possible to screen cancer patients for a broad range of cancer-causing genetic mutations as part of normal clinical practice.

For new microscope images, less is more
Scientists take advantage of a new mathematical theory to create higher resolution images from less data.

Can metals remember their shape at nanoscale, too?
University of Constance physicists Daniel Mutter and Peter Nielaba have visualized changes in shape memory materials down to the nanometric scale in an article about to be published in EPJ B.

Benefits of working from home depends on family demands
If you work from home part of the week as a teleworker, does it help reduce work exhaustion caused by juggling work and family commitments?

New software improves healthcare delivery in Africa
Researchers from the Georgia Tech College of Computing, working in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have developed a digital data tracking system to assist low-resource clinical laboratories in developing countries.

UH receives $990K grant to enhance cancer research facilities
Thanks to almost $1 million in new funding from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, the University of Houston will soon be enhancing its cancer research facilities.

Northern Ireland company makes major breakthrough in cancer treatment
Northern Ireland-based pharmaceutical development company Almac has devised a groundbreaking new test which can detect the likelihood of the recurrence of stage two colon cancer in patients who have undergone surgery.

Report identifies community health centers as America's 'first responders' in fighting obesity
According to a report from the STOP Obesity Alliance, community health centers and primary care providers working in other settings will increasingly become America's obesity

Universities, industry team up for 'greener' electronics
Three of the nation's leading universities have joined with 15 US companies to launch a first-of-its-kind collaborative research center whose holistic approach to energy efficiency development could mean savings of millions of dollars and a much 'greener' electronics industry.

1,200 speak up for Federal research funding for Food and Agriculture
More than 1,200 individuals, companies, organizations, educational and research institutions, and other stakeholders have joined together to stress the vital importance of robust research funding for food and agriculture.

TGen and Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center form drug development collaboration with Cedars-Sinai
The Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare is expanding its efforts to accelerate advances in cancer care with the addition of Cedars-Sinai's Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute in Los Angeles as a collaborator in clinical trials to develop personalized therapies that could lead to more effective cancer treatments.

VCU performs separation surgery on conjoined twins
A team of Virginia Commonwealth University pediatric surgeons today successfully completed the separation of 19-month-old conjoined twins Maria and Teresa Tapia of the Dominican Republic.

US institute wraps up data collection in Russian Mars 520-day mission simulation
For 520 days, space researchers collected data on the impact of prolonged operational confinement on the sleep, performance, and mood on humans during a simulated Mars mission that ended last week in Moscow.

Syracuse University receives $2 million from NSF
Syracuse University researchers have been awarded two million dollars by the National Science Foundation to conduct research on deciphering and controlling the signaling processes in bacterial multicellular systems and bacteria-host interactions.

Cooking in the classroom to fight childhood obesity
We recognize the importance of reaching our children early to form good food habits.

Nanowires could be solution for high performance solar cells
Tiny wires could help engineers realize high-performance solar cells and other electronics, according to University of Illinois researchers.

Survey finds that AIDS remains an unspeakable subject for African immigrants
A University of Cincinnati researcher from Ghana examines whether African immigrants are taking measures to protect themselves from AIDS and HIV as they adapt to living in a new country.

Abused students can return to school and thrive with educator help, MU researcher finds
A new study from the University of Missouri shows that children who are abused can return to school and do well academically if teachers can help them control their emotions, pay attention to detail and stay motivated.

Video-chatting may be the answer to literacy problems for rural and isolated students
Distance may no longer be an obstacle for struggling students living in rural and isolated areas.

New hybrid detector monitors alpha, beta, and gamma radiation simultaneously
Device could be used at nuclear power plant accident sites to more quickly and efficiently assess contamination levels.

Being smart is already part of your mental toolbox, psychologist says
Intelligence and smart thinking are not the same, according to University of Texas at Austin psychologist Art Markman, who studies how best to apply knowledge for smarter thinking at work and home.

Molecular corkscrew
Scientists from the universities of Zurich and Duisburg-Essen have discovered a specific function of the protein p97/VCP.

Shoe strings and egg openers
Max Planck scientists discover photosynthesis helper protein in red algae.

Marine Biological Laboratory Course Director Eric Davidson awarded International Prize for Biology
Developmental biologist Eric H. Davidson, a longtime affiliate of the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), has been awarded the prestigious 2011 International Prize for Biology from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS).

New artemisinin-based treatment against malaria promising
For some time now, artemisinin, derived from a Chinese herb, has been the most powerful treatment available against malaria.

Seasonal flu monitoring system launches
A powerful monitoring tool that will allow researchers to track the spread of seasonal flu launches today.

A list of the planthoppers of Iran
A list of 235 planthoppers from Iran is recorded along with distribution data.

Biotech start-up brings DNA-sequencing to the medical market
What started back in 2004 as a three-person start-up may well be on its way to becoming a multi-million euro success story.

RI Hospital finds dehydration scales not accurate for determining dehydration levels in children
A Rhode Island Hospital study evaluated the accuracy of the commonly used dehydration scales as they apply to children in a low-income country.

Drinking water from plastic pipes - is it harmful?
Pipe-in-pipe systems are now commonly used to distribute water in many homes.

Flexible learning in a virtual microscope lab
For every medical student, examining specimens under the microscope is part of the syllabus.

Researchers identify diabetes link to cognitive impairment in older adults
For the past five years, a team led by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has been studying the effects of diabetes on cognitive health in older individuals and has determined that memory loss, depression and other types of cognitive impairment are a serious consequence of this widespread disease.

Survey identifies sea turtle 'hitchhikers'
A recent survey documented the crustaceans, mollusks, algae and other marine organisms that make a home on the bodies Olive Ridley and green sea turtles living in the Pacific.

University of Saskatchewan, Royal Ontario Museum researchers track half-billion year old predator
Researchers from the University of Saskatchewan and Royal Ontario Museum have followed fossilized footprints to a multi-legged predator that ruled the seas of the Cambrian period about half a billion years ago.

Hi-tech scans catch prehistoric mite hitching ride on spider
Scientists have produced amazing three-dimensional images of a prehistoric mite as it hitched a ride on the back of a 50 million-year-old spider.

Imaging technique IDs plaques, tangles in brains of severely depressed older adults
UCLA researchers used a unique brain scan to assess the levels of amyloid plaques and tau tangles in older adults with a type of severe depression called major depressive disorder.

Digital tool enhances writing instruction
A new Web-based software package developed by Michigan State University educational researchers delivers tools to help teach writing skills formed through peer review and revision.

10 million euros for pioneering research projects at TU Muenchen
Six researchers at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen are to receive substantial ERC grants: to investigate the impact of extreme weather events on ecosystems; to exploit magnetic vortices for enhanced data processing; to develop a visual language for data uncertainty arising from scientific measurements and simulations; to gain a better understanding of self-organization processes within living cells; to examine the influence of chronic inflammation on colon cancer; and to advance high-resolution X-ray imaging.

Surviving premature babies in Malawi continue to have poor growth rates and development delay
A detailed study from Malawi, published in this week's PLoS Medicine, shows that during the first two years of life, infants who were born prematurely (before 37 weeks gestation) continue to have a higher risk of death than infants born at term and are also more likely to have poorer growth and developmental delay.

Story tips from the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, November 2011
The following are story tips from the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, November 2011.

Adult living donor liver transplants safe, study finds
Desperately needed adult living donor liver transplantation is a safe surgery for the donor, according to researchers at Henry Ford Hospital.

UGA study: Negative anti-smoking ads may overlook intended audience
Younger adults who generally feel anxious tend to immediately avoid anti-smoking videos that describe how cigarettes can lead to death, disease and harm to others, before considering the message, according to a new University of Georgia study.

Waterjet milling will cut production costs of aeronautic materials
Research work coordinated by CIC marGUNE is developing waterjet milling technology which promises highly competitive costs compared to current machining systems.

First results of Angiomax (bivalirudin) vs. heparin in transcatheter aortic valve interventions
Clinical researchers here reported the first results of a pilot study with the anticoagulant Angiomax ® (bivalirudin) as an adjunct to catheter-based procedures in patients with severely defective aortic heart valves in whom surgery was not possible.

From polar bear denning, bats and wind energy, climate change and wildlife and more:
The Wildlife Society's annual conference is from Nov. 5 to 10 on Waikoloa, Hawaii.

Spinal bleeding with brain injury may suggest abuse in young children
A new study found that spinal bleeding is found often in young children who are victims of abusive trauma.

Which way you lean -- physically -- affects your decision-making
We're not always aware of how we are making a decision.

University of Warwick research promises 5-fold reduction in footrot among sheep
Researchers at the University of Warwick have shown that proper management of footrot could cut lameness from one in 10 to one in 50 sheep.

Using Viagra to combat malignant melanoma
Many tumors cause chronic inflammations, which, in their turn, suppress specific attacks against the tumor by the immune system.

Research shows we all experience fantasy differently, which determines how much we enjoy it
Whether you love the

ORNL fundamental discovery casts enzymes in new light
A tree outside ORNL researcher Pratul Agarwal's office window provided the inspiration for a discovery that may ultimately lead to drugs with fewer side effects, less expensive biofuels and more.

The story behind the science
Doctors should consider the use of narrative -- in the form of patient stories and testimonials -- as a powerful tool for translating and communicating evidence-based policies to the public to buoy buy-in on important health issues such as cancer screenings and vaccination mandates, according to two physicians from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania writing this week in JAMA.

UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital begins studies on vitamin D to prevent heart disease
University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital will be looking at the role of vitamin D in preventing heart disease in children and young adults who are both HIV-positive and HIV-negative.

Researchers create extra-long electrical arcs using less energy
Photos taken by the researchers show plasma arcs up to 60 meters long casting an eerie blue glow over buildings and trees at the High Voltage Laboratory at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.

Reducing carbon footprints with carbon storage
Destruction of wildland habitats to make way for agriculture continues to erode the amount of carbon stored in the biomass and soil.

Galaxy DNA-analysis software is now available 'in the cloud'
Galaxy -- an open-source, web-based platform for data-intensive biomedical and genetic research -- is now available as a

Cardiac stress imaging more frequent among patients whose physicians provide, bill for procedures
Patients treated by physicians who billed for both technical (practice/equipment) and professional (supervision/ interpretation) components of nuclear and echocardiographic stress imaging tests were more likely to undergo such tests after coronary revascularization compared with patients of physicians who did not bill for these services, according to a study in the Nov.

Possible treatment target found for main cause of severe liver disease in kids
Unexpected discovery of a new molecular signature for a destructive and often lethal pediatric liver disease may lead to a new therapeutic target for the hard-to-treat condition.

How do we manage the demand for global health education?
In this week's PLoS Medicine, Vanessa Kerry of Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA, and colleagues discuss how to manage the unprecedented growth in and demand for global health programs in the United States, Europe, and other high-income countries.

Researcher provides further evidence that slow eating reduces food intake
Two new studies are providing additional insights into the role that eating rate plays in the amount of food one consumes.

Bisexual women, more likely than bisexual men, to be depressed and abuse alcohol, new study finds
Bisexual women are more likely than their male counterparts to suffer from depression and stress and to binge-drink, according to a new national study led by George Mason University researcher Lisa Lindley.

Combination drugs for treatment of uncomplicated malaria in African children
A large study from Africa, published in this week's PLoS Medicine, has found that in a direct comparison, three types of new, fast-acting antimalarial artemisinin-based combination therapy drugs, which comprise artemisinin derivatives in combination with a partner antimalarial drug, AL (artesunate-mefloquine), ASAQ (artesunate-amodiaquine) and DHAPQ (dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine) are all effective for treating children with uncomplicated malaria.

UCLA biologists slow the aging process in fruit flies
UCLA biologists have identified a gene that slows the aging process.

Conservationists call for increased focus on coastal ecosystems
The world's coastal marine ecosystems are being overlooked, both in terms of their ecological importance and their potential as a rallying point for conservation.

Most Americans with HCM live normal life spans
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a treatable disease compatible with normal longevity.

Wood biofuel could be a competitive industry by 2020: UBC study
Fuel made from wood could become a competitive commercial alternative to fuel made from corn by 2020 if the wood biofuel industry is supported, according to a new University of British Columbia study.

Seeing sound
High-performance loudspeaker manufacturers have been able to improve sound quality dramatically over the years, but still face the issue of dead spots. 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