Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 15, 2011
Canadian universities adopt JoVE, an innovative method of scientific communication
Twenty-two percent of Canadian research universities now subscribe to the Journal of Visualized Experiments, due to its growing popularity among faculty and students.

Policy reforms 'demoralizing' teaching profession, scholar argues
A provocative new article in the American Journal of Education argues that many teachers in the age of rigid curricula, high-stakes testing, and reduced classroom autonomy are finding it difficult to access the

Denosumab delays development of prostate cancer bone metastasis
An international clinical trial has found that treatment with denosumab, a drug that suppresses the normal breakdown of bone, can delay the development of bone metastases in men with prostate cancer.

Boppart presents at Congressional briefing
On Nov. 17, 2011, professor Stephen Boppart from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will take part in a congressional briefing on

Trying to make sense of the world: Why do consumers misunderstand causes and effects?
Consumers often attempt to match causes to consequences to make sense of events that unfold in their lives or in the world, but this strategy leads to erroneous conclusions, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Ancient stars shed light on the prehistory of the Milky Way
Some of the oldest stars in the Milky Way -- a kind of stellar fossils, contain abnormally large amounts of heavy elements like gold, platinum and uranium.

Ionized plasmas as cheap sterilizers for developing world
Devices that create ionized plasmas could be life-savers in the developing world or on the battlefield, providing an inexpensive way to sterilize water and medical instruments.

No extraordinary effects from microwave and mobile phone heating
The effect of microwave heating and cell phone radiation on sample material is no different than a temperature increase, according to scientists from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Arizona State University, in Tempe, as published in a recent issue of EPJ B.

UT Southwestern wins 2 national awards for patient satisfaction
UT Southwestern Medical Center today became the nation's only academic medical center to win two major patient satisfaction awards -- the Patient Voice Award and the Summit Award for inpatient services -- from Press Ganey.

MIT: Mimicking the brain, in silicon
For decades, scientists have dreamed of building computer systems that could replicate the human brain's talent for learning new tasks.

Marines test new energy-efficient weapon in the war on trash
In partnership with the Office of Naval Research, Marines at Camp Smith, Hawaii, are testing a high-tech trash disposal system that can reduce a standard 50-gallon bag of waste to a half-pint jar of harmless ash.

Air pollution a culprit in worsening drought and flooding
Increases in air pollution and other particulate matter in the atmosphere can strongly affect cloud development in ways that reduce precipitation in dry regions or seasons.

BGI announces collaborative research agreements with Oregon State University
BGI, the world's largest genomics organization, announced today that it has entered an agreement with Oregon State University to conduct collaborative de novo genome sequencing and transcriptome analysis of nine Phytophthora plant pathogens.

Prenatal quality initiative improves patient safety
A new study published in the Journal for Healthcare Quality reveals that a multifaceted quality initiative can significantly reduce adverse obstetric outcomes, thereby improving patient safety and enhancing staff and patient experiences.

TWAS 22nd General Meeting in Trieste
TWAS, the academy of sciences of the developing world, will hold its 22nd General Meeting in Trieste, Italy, on Nov.

Atherosclerotic plaques' downstream spread linked to low shear stress
In human coronary arteries, atherosclerotic plaques tend to spread downstream because of the changes in blood flow patterns the plaque causes, researchers have found.

Mental illness: Probing the causes of schizophrenia, depression and anxiety
New research identifies the brain chemicals and circuits involved in mental illnesses like schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety, giving potential new directions to their treatment.

Focus on testing hurts students in high school health classes
High school health classes fail to help students refuse sexual advances or endorse safe sex habits when teachers focus primarily on testing knowledge, a new study reveals.

Minister announces UK-India collaboration on bioenergy
In New Delhi on Nov. 15, 2011, Minister of State for Universities and Science, David Willetts, announced plans for a £10M joint call for sustainable bioenergy research between the UK and India.

Higher minimum legal drinking ages linked to lower rates of suicides and homicides later in life
Prior to 1984, many US states permitted a minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) of 18 years.

Vascular risk linked to long-term antiepileptic drug therapy
New research reveals that patients with epilepsy who were treated for extended periods with older generation antiepileptic drugs may be at increased risk for developing atherosclerosis, a common disorder known as hardening of the arteries.

Contrasting patterns of malaria drug resistance found between humans and mosquitoes
A study detected contrasting patterns of drug resistance in malaria-causing parasites taken from both humans and mosquitoes.

Fossil moths show their true colors
The brightest hues in nature are produced by tiny patterns in, say, feathers or scales rather than pigments.

Study shows denosumab slows spread of prostate cancer to bones in men at high risk of progression
A study published Online First by the Lancet shows that denosumab can slow the spread of prostate cancer to bones in men at high risk of disease progression.

Putting stroke patients in charge improves quality of life
Community rehabilitation interventions for stroke patients have not had a great track record of delivering measurable improvements.

New biosensor benefits from melding of carbon nanotubes, DNA
Purdue University scientists have developed a method for stacking synthetic DNA and carbon nanotubes onto a biosensor electrode, a development that may lead to more accurate measurements for research related to diabetes and other diseases.

Pneumonia most common infection after heart surgery
Pneumonia -- not a deep incision surgical site infection -- is the most common serious infection after heart surgery, according to new research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2011.

Niacin does not reduce heart attack, stroke risk in stable CV patients
In patients whose bad cholesterol is very well-controlled by statins for a long time period, the addition of high-dose, extended release niacin did not reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, according to the lead article in today's NEJM, co-authored by University at Buffalo professor of medicine William E.

Why solar wind is rhombic-shaped: RUB researchers report in Physical Review Letters
Why the temperatures in the solar wind are almost the same in certain directions, and why different energy densities are practically identical, was until now not clear.

Male breast cancer patients stop taking tamoxifen early because of drug-related side effects
The largest study to investigate the tolerability of the breast cancer drug tamoxifen in male breast cancer patients has shown that men stop taking their prescribed therapy early because of problems with side effects caused by the drug.

Study evaluates 'normal range' systolic BP levels after ischemic stroke and risk of recurrent stroke
Among patients who experienced an ischemic stroke, systolic blood pressure levels of less than 120 mm Hg, or higher than 140 mm Hg, were associated with an increased risk of subsequent stroke, according to a study appearing in the Nov.

Genetic screening in yeast reveals new candidate gene for Lou Gehrig's disease
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a universally fatal neurodegenerative disease. Mutations in two related proteins, TDP-43 and FUS, cause some forms of ALS.

New heart cells increase by 30 percent after stem cell infusion
UB research establishes that new heart cells can be regenerated in a stem cell therapy potentially applicable to patients suffering from heart dysfunction arising from insufficient blood flow to the heart.

Gene impedes recovery from alcoholism
People who are alcohol-dependent and who also carry a particular variant of a gene run an increased risk of premature death.

Perfect micro rings woven from muscle fibers
Scientists from the Cluster of Excellence Nanosystems Initiative Munich have now succeeded in building a simple model system consisting of only three components to study the laws of such so-called absorbing states.

Early COPD detection could help lung cancer diagnosis
Early screening of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease may help to detect lung cancer at an earlier stage, according to a new study.

Cannabinoid receptor 1 is linked to dependence on alcohol and other substances
Prior research had implicated the endogenous cannabinoid system in the development of alcohol dependence.

Panel of melanoma mutations opens door to new treatment possibilities
Researchers have developed a new genetic screening tool that will aid in the investigation of possible treatments for patients with melanoma and the unique genetic mutations that may accompany the disease, according to data presented at the AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference: Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics, held Nov.

If consumers are close to fitness goals, do they prefer a larger or limited variety of products?
Consumers who believe they are making progress toward their goals are motivated by limited product variety, unlike people who think they are further from their goals, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Mobile phone operators are advised to take more care of their customers
Competition between mobile telephone companies unleashes an offers war between operators to capture new customers.

Erectile dysfunction study shows high prevalence of peripheral neuropathy
Researchers have uncovered clear links between erectile dysfunction (ED) and peripheral neuropathy.

Kessler Foundation awarded stroke research grant by Wallerstein Foundation
Kessler Foundation received a $250,000 stroke research grant from the Wallerstein Foundation for Geriatric Life Improvement.

Stop signal discovered for skin cancer
An extraordinary breakthrough in understanding what stops a common form of skin cancer from developing could make new cancer treatments and prevention available to the public in five years.

Visual language, cognition and deaf education topics of summit
How deaf children learn to read will be one of the topics of a conference at UC Davis Nov.

MSU researcher sent to Siberia to study global change
A Michigan State University researcher will travel to Siberia to gauge how the world's oldest and largest freshwater lake is adapting to global change.

Report: More than half of people arrested for Islamic terrorist activities were American citizens
Sixty percent of people arrested for Islamic terrorist activities between January 2009 and April 2011 were American citizens, according to a new report from Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Adolescent sex linked to adult body, mood troubles, in animal study
A new study suggests that sex during adolescence can have lasting negative effects on the body and mood well into adulthood, most likely because the activity occurs when the nervous system is still developing.

How far can they go? Traveling is key for survival and conservation
Nowadays, more and more animal habitats are being fragmented, or lost.

UC research suggests focusing on property owners to reduce police calls to rental properties
University of Cincinnati researchers examined calls for police service from rental units, including Section 8 housing.

Cleveland Clinic study: 2 statin drugs similarly effective in reversing coronary heart disease
Maximum doses of Crestor (rosuvastatin) or Lipitor (atorvastatin) are similarly effective in reversing the buildup of cholesterol plaques in the coronary artery walls (atherosclerosis) after 24 months of treatment, according to Cleveland Clinic researchers.

Evidence supports ban on growth promotion use of antibiotics in farming
Tufts researchers zero in on the controversial, non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in food animals and fish farming as a cause of antibiotic resistance in people.

Hope for more options in couples where one partner is HIV positive
In sub-Saharan Africa, couples in long-term relationships where one partner is HIV-positive and the other is HIV-negative could benefit from anti-AIDS drugs given either as treatment or as a prevention measure to reduce the risk of HIV transmission.

Everybody can become a better a reader
Students with cognitive impairments may learn to comprehend written texts much better than commonly thought, according to Monica Reichenberg and Ingvar Lundberg, reading researchers and professors at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Creation of the largest human-designed protein boosts protein engineering efforts
A team of Vanderbilt chemists have designed and successfully synthesized the largest artificial protein using a new approach that greatly expands scientists' ability to create proteins unknown in nature.

Students advance in science competition and publish theoretical physics study
Students mentored by IUPUI physics professor have advanced to Siemens Competition regional finals.

FSU professor wins major meteorology award for research on El Nino
Florida State University oceanography professor Allan Clarke grew up in a coastal town in southern Australia where he loved the ocean, the beach and the warmth of the sun.

Molecular link between diabetes and cancer described
The fact that diabetes raises the risk of certain types of cancer is already well known, but the reasons have been unclear.

Pneumonia the most common serious infection post-heart surgery
New research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has shown for the first time that pneumonia is the most common serious infection after heart surgery.

New project will study 'deep carbon'
Studying the behavior of carbon -- the essential element in oil and natural gas -- deep within the Earth is the aim of a new initiative co-directed by a UC Davis chemistry professor and funded by a two-year, $1.5 million grant from the Alfred P.

Should doctors encourage people to donate a kidney to a stranger?
With three people on the kidney transplant list dying in the UK every day, should doctors encourage their patients to put themselves at risk for the benefit of others?

Blood-based genomic test better than imaging test for ruling out obstructive coronary artery disease
A blood-based gene expression test was found to be more effective for ruling out obstructive coronary artery disease in stable symptomatic patients than myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI), a common test that uses a radioactive agent to evaluate the blood flow and function of the heart.

Do credit cards change the way consumers perceive products?
People who pay cash focus on different aspects of products than people who use credit cards, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

NC State team to develop energy efficient 3-D CPU
Researchers from North Carolina State University are developing a three-dimensional central processing unit (CPU) -- the brains of the computer -- with the goal of boosting energy efficiency by 15 to 25 percent.

Igniting innovation and inspiration
Today the US Department of Energy's Office of Science announced awards of nearly 1.7 billion processor hours to 60 high-impact research projects which will address scientific and engineering challenges of national and global importance.

New test for coronary artery disease linked to higher rates of cardiac procedures and greater costs
A new, noninvasive diagnostic test for coronary artery disease is associated with a higher rate of subsequent invasive cardiac procedures and higher health-care spending.

Brain, repair thyself: Studies highlight brain's resiliency to damage
New research released today demonstrates the brain's remarkable capacity to repair itself.

Why do experts seek negative feedback to get motivated?
Novices are more motivated by positive feedback than experts, who prefer a harsh critic, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Canada's Governor-General, in Malaysia, discusses strengthening ties in science, technology
Strengthening ties between Canada and Malaysia in sectors such as aerospace, green technology, agriculture, transport, oil and gas was the focus of a meeting in Kuala Lumpur Tuesday attended by Canadian Governor-General David Johnston.

Finger tapping shows that alcoholics may recruit other brain regions for simple tasks
Chronic drinking is associated with neurocognitive deficits due to neuropathological changes in the structure, metabolism, and function of the brain.

Go ahead, tell me what to buy: Happy consumers like it (most of the time?)
Consumers apparently don't mind taking orders, when it comes to slogans for pleasurable products or services, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Gladstone founder receives American Heart Association Distinguished Scientist Award
The American Heart Association will today present Gladstone Institutes Senior Investigator and President Emeritus Robert Mahley, M.D., Ph.D., with the 2011 AHA Distinguished Scientist Award, bestowing yet another honor on one of Gladstone's founding cardiovascular scientists.

Only a third of US state police agencies equip cars with AEDs
Just 30 percent the nation's state police agencies reported that they equip their vehicles with automated external defibrillators, and of those, nearly 60 percent of said only a minority of their fleet have the lifesaving devices on board, according to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania that was presented today at the American Heart Association's annual Scientific Sessions (Abstract #10721).

Moderate drinking and cardiovascular health: here comes the beer
Beer could stand up alongside wine regarding positive effects on cardiovascular health.

The serotonin system in women's brains is damaged more readily by alcohol than that in men's brains
After only four years of problem drinking, a significant decrease in the function of the serotonin system in women's brains can be seen.

Erratic, extreme day-to-day weather puts climate change in new light
Princeton University researchers report the first climate study to focus on variations in daily weather conditions, which found that day-to-day weather has grown increasingly erratic and extreme, with significant fluctuations in sunshine and rainfall affecting more than a third of the planet.

Population-specific community-based cancer screening may discourage smoking
Large, population specific community-based screening may increase awareness of the dangers of smoking and reduce at-risk behaviors, according to a new study in the November 2011 issue of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

Cleveland Clinic researcher reports that evacetrapib can increase HDL (good) cholesterol 128 percent
Researchers at Cleveland Clinic reported today that administration of a new drug -- evacetrapib -- can dramatically increase HDL (good) cholesterol, while significantly lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol).

UH Green Building Components Expo showcasing eco-friendly projects
University of Houston Green Building Components (UHGBC), a program in the Gerald D.

Stanford engineers use nanophotonics to reshape on-chip computer data transmission
A new nanoscale light-emitting diode developed at Stanford's School of Engineering transmits data at ultrafast rates while using thousands of times less energy than current technologies.

Supervolcanoes: Not a threat for 2012
The geological record holds clues that throughout Earth's 4.5-billion-year lifetime massive supervolcanoes, far larger than Mount St.

Why do events seem more important when consumers think about weight?
Toting a heavy item around may cause you to judge an issue to be more important, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

NICS announces strategic engagement with Intel
The National Center for Computational Sciences will work with the world's leader in silicon innovation to develop future solutions for high-end computing based on Intel's MIC architecture.

Should we prepare for the end? New report calls for decriminalization of assisted dying in Canada
A report commissioned by the Royal Society of Canada, and published today in the journal Bioethics, claims that assisted suicide should be legally permitted for competent individuals who make a free and informed decision, while on both a personal and a national level insufficient plans and policies are made for the end of life.

US government HIV/AIDS clinical trial sites to accelerate completion of phase III TB drug trial
The TB Alliance announces the launch of a collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' (NIAID) AIDS Clinical Trial Group (ACTG) to conduct and help complete a Phase III clinical trial testing potentially faster-acting tuberculosis (TB) treatments.

Research provides clues to neurodevelopemental disorders
Research released today shows that scientists are finding new tools to help understand neurodevelopmental disorders like autism and fragile X syndrome.

UCLA stem cell researchers uncover mechanism that regulates human pluripotent stem cell metabolism
Human pluripotent stem cells, which can develop into any cell type in the body, rely heavily on glycolysis, or sugar fermentation, to drive their metabolic activities.

The brain acts fast to reappraise angry faces
If you tell yourself that someone who's being mean is just having a bad day -- it's not about you -- you may actually be able to stave off bad feelings, according to a new study which will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

New study finds that PROMETAT, a controversial methamphetamine treatment program, is ineffective
A recent study has found that PROMETAT, a popular but controversial treatment for methamphetamine addiction, is no more effective than placebo in reducing methamphetamine use, keeping users in treatment, or reducing cravings for methamphetamine.

Large differences in the climate impact of biofuels
When biomass is combusted the carbon that once was bound in the growing tree is released into the atmosphere.

First combination ARV vaginal ring for HIV prevention being tested in Phase I safety trial
In the first clinical trial of a vaginal ring combining two antiretroviral drugs, researchers from the Microbicide Trials Network are collaborating with the International Partnership for Microbicides to evaluate whether the ring is safe for use in women.

Erectile dysfunction increases with use of multiple medications
The use of multiple medications is associated with increased severity of erectile dysfunction.

MIT: Uncovering a key player in metastasis
About 90 percent of cancer deaths are caused by secondary tumors, known as metastases, which spread from the original tumor site.

Reducing the treatment gap for mental, neurological, and substance use disorders
In this week's PLoS Medicine, Shekhar Saxena of the WHO in Geneva, Switzerland and colleagues summarize the recent WHO Mental Health Gap Action Program intervention guide that provides evidence-based management recommendations for mental, neurological, and substance use disorders.

Engineered, drug-secreting blood vessels reverse anemia in mice
Patients who rely on recombinant, protein-based drugs must often endure frequent injections, often several times a week, or intravenous therapy.

Scarring a necessary evil to prevent further damage after heart attack
After a heart attack, the portions of the heart damaged by a lack of oxygen become scar tissue.

Trees adapt to poor levels of sunlight to effectively process carbon, study shows
In Europe, forests appear evergreen even in the cloudiest conditions, while the lush interiors of Asian jungles are typically overshadowed by a dense canopy.

CDC and Prevention awards Mayo Clinic an international medical education grant
The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has awarded Mayo Clinic a $1.25 million grant to develop online medical education in Ethiopia.

Report answers questions about E. coli: The good, the bad and the deadly
It has been the cause of infamous international food-borne disease outbreaks and yet it is the most studied bacterium in science, an essential part of the human digestive tract, and a backbone of the biotech industry.

Blood pressure and stroke risk gets more complicated
For patients who have suffered an ischemic stroke, traditional treatment prescribes keeping subsequent blood pressure levels as low as possible to reduce the risk of another stroke.

Global Challenges Discussion Series addresses 'the teen years' of nanotechnology
Nanotechnology as a discipline that is coming of age with considerable potential for economic innovation will be discussed Monday, Nov.

Put yourself in someone else's shoes: What type of perspective makes consumers self-conscious?
Certain emotions are heightened when we view ourselves from a first-person perspective, while others amplify when we observe ourselves from the outside, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

New hi-tech survey accelerates collection of vaccination data
New technology now makes it possible to collect 'near real-time' data about whether people are having any side effects from vaccination.

A new molecular mechanism in breast cancer development
About 10 percent of breast cancers are due to mutations in genes called BRCA1 and BRCA2.

Teaching skills key to selection of a successful model farmer
A model farmer does not effectively train other farmers on new innovative farming methods if they do not possess appropriate dissemination skills, a recent study has found.

NIH TRND program announces next round of drug development projects
Researchers will begin drug development projects for rare and neglected diseases that include potential treatments for a musculoskeletal disorder, a cognitive dysfunction disorder, a virus that affects the central nervous system of newborns, a parasitic worm infection, a form of muscular dystrophy and a rare lung disease.

In new quantum-dot LED design, researchers turn troublesome molecules to their advantage
By nestling quantum dots in an insulating egg-crate structure, researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have demonstrated a robust new architecture for quantum-dot light-emitting devices (QD-LEDs).

Milk thistle extract stops lung cancer in mice
A study at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, published in the journal Molecular Carcinogenesis shows that the milk thistle extract, silibinin, interferes with cell signaling that otherwise leads to the production of tumor-causing enzymes COX2 and iNOS.

State Sen. Jeff Klein launches Einstein's new lab
New York State Senator Jeffrey D. Klein joined administrators and faculty members of Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University last Friday to officially open their new Cognitive Neurophysiology Laboratory.

Rutgers-Camden researcher examines how the brain perceives shades of gray
Sarah Allred, an assistant professor of psychology at Rutgers-Camden, has teamed up with psychologists from the University of Pennsylvania on groundbreaking research that provides new insight into how the brain perceives color.

Dramatic diversity of columbine flowers explained by a simple change in cell shape
Columbine flowers are recognizable by the long, trailing nectar spurs that extend from the bases of their petals, tempting the taste buds of their insect pollinators.

Delayed cord clamping protects newborn babies from iron deficiency
Waiting for at least three minutes before clamping the umbilical cord in healthy newborns improves their iron levels at four months, according to research published on today.

Alcoholism is linked to higher rates of general and cancer-related deaths
Alcohol consumption causes approximately four percent of all deaths worldwide.

EHJ paper underlines need for improved links between cardiologists and psychiatrists
People taking anti-psychotic drugs and anti-depressant drugs have a much higher risk of dying during an acute coronary event of a fatal arrhythmia than the rest of the population, finds a Finnish study published in the European Heart Journal.

Health care of transsexual persons causes unnecessary suffering
In 1972, Sweden became the first country in the world to legislate health care for transsexualism within the state-financed health care system.

Surgery on toy animals lessens anxiety of veterinary students
Training basic surgical techniques on toy animals before having to perform operations on living animals makes veterinary students much less anxious.

New medication increases HDL cholesterol and decreases LDL cholesterol levels
Among patients with sub-optimal low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels, use of the drug evacetrapib alone or in combination with statin medications was associated with significant increases in HDL-C levels and decreases in LDL-C levels, according to a study appearing in the Nov.

UC a strong presence at American Society of Criminology Meeting
When the American Society of Criminology meets in Washington, D.C., later this week, UC's top-ranked criminal justice program will serve as a strong research presence, with about 40 research papers and presentations.

Is a stranger trustworthy? You'll know in 20 seconds
There's definitely something to be said for first impressions. New research from the University of California, Berkeley, suggests it can take just 20 seconds to detect whether a stranger is genetically inclined to being trustworthy, kind or compassionate.

The leading edge of stress: New genomic, optogenetic and epigenetic findings
Research released today uses the latest genetic tools to explore how stress alters brain function, leading to anxiety, depression, and other stress-related mood disorders.

Cleaning cows from inside out
US Department of Agriculture scientists and their collaborators have conducted a series of studies that explore non-antibiotic methods to reduce food-borne pathogens that are found in the gut of food animals. 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