Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 17, 2011
New hope for young leukemia patients?
The development of simple tests to predict a leukemic relapse in young patients is a step closer thanks to researchers from the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center and the University of Montreal.

NASA's Hubble confirms that galaxies are the ultimate recyclers
New observations by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope are expanding astronomers' understanding of the ways in which galaxies continuously recycle immense volumes of hydrogen gas and heavy elements.

Princeton release: Massive volcanoes, meteorite impacts delivered one-two death punch to dinosaurs
A cosmic one-two punch of colossal volcanic eruptions and meteorite strikes likely caused the mass-extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous period that is famous for killing the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, according to two Princeton University reports that reject the prevailing theory that the extinction was caused by a single large meteorite.

VLBA observations key to 'complete description' of black hole
A precise distance measurement by the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) allowed astronomers to accurately calculate the mass and spin of a famous black hole, thus providing a complete description of the object.

Indevr launches breakthrough colorimetric detection for microarrays using core technology from CU
InDevR, a Boulder-based biotechnology company that develops advanced life science instrumentation and assays for analysis of viruses and other microorganisms, announced today the launch revolutionary new technology for microbiological analysis. ampliPHOX, a colorimetric detection system that incorporates core technology licensed from the University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office, will enhance laboratories around the world by offering a cost effective and easy to use alternative to fluorescence detection.

Worms reveal secrets of wound-healing response
The lowly and simple roundworm may be the ideal laboratory model to learn more about the complex processes involved in repairing wounds and could eventually allow scientists to improve the body's response to healing skin wounds, a serious problem in diabetics and the elderly.

Bacteria responsible for common infections may protect themselves by stealing immune molecules
Bacteria responsible for middle ear infections, pink eye and sinusitis protect themselves from further immune attack by transporting molecules meant to destroy them away from their inner membrane target, according to a study from Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Vermicompost beneficial for organically grown tomatoes
A study evaluated the effects of adding vermicompost to substrates in organically grown greenhouse tomatoes.

Study explains how heart attack can lead to heart rupture
A new study by University of Iowa researchers pinpoints a single protein as the key player in the biochemical cascade that leads to cardiac rupture.

Micro-cavity arrays: Lighting the way to the future
A research team funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research has pioneered the use of micro-plasmas in a revolutionary approach to illumination, and Drs.

Archeologists investigate Ice Age hominins' adaptability to climate change
Computational modeling that examines evidence of how hominin groups evolved culturally and biologically in response to climate change during the last Ice Age also bears new insights into the extinction of Neanderthals.

Introducing L-PEACH: Tool for understanding peach tree development
Researchers introduced L-PEACH-d, a computer-based model that simulates peach tree growth.

University of Alaska science station nets $16 million award
The National Science Foundation awarded $16.3 million to the University of Alaska Fairbanks in support of the Toolik Field Station, a major site for national and international research in the North American Arctic since 1975.

Cervical smears can be humiliating and stressful, says new study from University of Leicester
Research calls for more personalized approach to smear tests.

Nudity tunes up the brain
Researchers at the University of Tampere and the Aalto University, Finland, have shown that the perception of nude bodies is boosted at an early stage of visual processing.

Rivers may aid climate control in cities
Planners could make greater use of urban waterways to regulate environmental temperature in our cities, according to research presented today.

US preterm birth rate under 12 percent, the lowest level in nearly a decade
The preterm birth rate slipped under 12 percent for the first time in nearly a decade, the fourth consecutive year it declined, potentially sparing tens of thousands of babies the serious health consequences of an early birth.

When it comes to EMS safety, worker perception may reflect reality, Pitt study finds
Poor perceptions about workplace safety culture among emergency medical services workers is associated with negative patient and provider safety outcomes -- the first time such a link has been shown in the pre-hospital setting, according to a study by University of Pittsburgh researchers that now appears online in Prehospital Emergency Care and is scheduled to be published in the January-March print edition.

Study of flower petals shows evolution at the cellular level
A new study of flower petals shows evolution in action, and contradicts more that 60 years of scientific thought.

'K computer' research results awarded ACM Gordon Bell Prize
A research group from RIKEN, the University of Tsukuba, the University of Tokyo, and Fujitsu Limited today announced that research results obtained using the

Study details links between climate, groundwater availability - will help states prepare for drought
Everyone knows that climate affects our water supply, but new research from North Carolina State University gives scientists and water-resource managers an unprecedented level of detail on how climate and precipitation influence groundwater and surface water levels in the Southeast.

A new stent design may put patients at risk
Some stents that keep blood vessels open to treat heart disease are poorly designed to resist shortening, according to publications in the Journal of Interventional Cardiology.

One for you, one for me
ch time a cell divides -- and it takes millions of cell divisions to create a fully grown human body from a single fertilized cell -- its chromosomes have to be accurately divvied up between both daughter cells.

Employer health insurance premiums increased 50 percent in every state from 2003 to 2010
Premiums for employer-sponsored family health insurance increased by 50 percent from 2003 to 2010, and the annual amount that employees pay toward their insurance increased by 63 percent as businesses required employees to contribute a greater share, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report examining state trends in health insurance costs.

Paving the way for better prevention and management of delirium
Important clues to the prevention and management of delirium, a condition affecting an estimated seven million hospitalized Americans, are being ignored, according to a study from the Regenstrief Institute and the Indiana University School of Medicine.

New international computerized medical information systems research project
The University of Haifa has launched an international research project aimed at developing a computerized system that will enable patients who need to be monitored and their healthcare providers to receive updates and medical advice in real time outside clinically-controlled environments.

Preserving lifesaving antibiotics today and for the future
With antibiotic-resistant infections increasingly common, and a dangerous lack of new infection fighters in the drug development pipeline, it's more important than ever to use existing antibiotics appropriately.

Microfabrication breakthrough could set piezoelectric material applications in motion
Integrating a complex, single-crystal material with

Assembly stand completed for NASA's Webb Telescope flight optics
The cleanroom at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., has received a giant structural steel frame that will be used to assemble the mirrors and instruments of the James Webb Space Telescope.

How the brain senses nutrient balance
Now, a research study discovers intriguing new information about how dietary nutrients influence brain cells that are key regulators of energy balance in the body.

NIH-funded scientists identify potential malaria drug candidates
Researchers have discovered a group of chemical compounds that might one day be developed into drugs that can treat malaria infection in both the liver and the bloodstream.

Notre Dame survey of African American Catholics offers important insights
A new, unprecedented national survey of African American Catholics by University of Notre Dame researchers reveals several significant insights into individual religious engagement and identifies several notable demographic trends facing the church.

Genetic profiling of breast cancers -- still some way from personalized medicine
Genetic profiling has revolutionized our understanding of breast cancer, but despite offering great promise to better predict outcomes and optimize treatment for individual patients, a decade on, our ability to individualize therapy based on robust prognostic and predictive factors remains limited, according to the second paper in the Lancet series on breast cancer.

Researchers pinpoint date and rate of Earth's most extreme extinction
Through the analysis of various types of dating techniques on well-preserved sedimentary sections from South China to Tibet, researchers determined that the mass extinction peaked about 252.28 million years ago and lasted less than 200,000 years, with most of the extinction lasting about 20,000 years.

Targeting bacterial gas defenses allow for increased efficacy of numerous antibiotics
Although scientists have known for centuries that many bacteria produce hydrogen sulfide (H2S) it was thought to be simply a toxic by-product of cellular activity.

'Trans-parency' in the workplace
Transsexual individuals who identify themselves as such in the workplace are more likely to have greater satisfaction and commitment to their job than transsexuals who do not, according to a new study from Rice University and Pennsylvania State University.

AAAS, TWAS agree on ambitious joint effort to build science diplomacy
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) signed a formal agreement today to pursue an ambitious slate of joint projects to enhance efforts at the nexus of science and diplomacy.

UBC researchers provide recommendations for $100 billion in annual climate change aid
University of British Columbia researchers are providing recommendations for managing a $100 billion annual commitment made by the international community at last year's United Nations climate conference to help the developing world respond to climate change -- a funding promise almost equal to all existing official development aid from major donor countries today.

Protecting our brains: Tackling delirium
A new national plan of action provides a roadmap for improving the care of patients with delirium, a poorly understood and often unrecognized brain condition that affects approximately seven million hospitalized Americans each year.

Mitochondria restructuring protein provides new therapeutic target for heart disease
In a paper published Nov. 18 in Molecular Cell, researchers at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute show that the protein Siah2 regulates mitochondrial fragmentation under low oxygen conditions.

Dual-acting class of antimalarial compounds discovered by Novartis with potential to prevent and treat malaria
The discovery of a new class of dual-acting antimalarial compounds that target both liver and blood infections, attacking the Plasmodium parasite at both stages in its reproduction cycle, to publish.

Brain study explores what makes colors and numbers collide
Someone with the condition known as grapheme-color synesthesia might experience the number 2 in turquoise or the letter S in magenta.

Researchers discover new way to form extracellular vesicles
Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center have discovered a protein called TAT-5 that affects the production of extracellular vesicles, small sacs of membrane released from the surface of cells, capable of sending signals to other cells.

Presenteeism: A new word for working when sick
Colleagues who work with runny noses, sore throats and clammy skin are as seasonal as the flu.

Predictive health symposium will focus on human microbiome
The Seventh Annual Symposium on Predictive Health, to be held on Friday, Dec.

Combo hormone therapy has increased breast cancer risk over estrogen alone
Now a study by researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center has found that women taking the combination estrogen and progestin menopausal hormone therapy who experienced new onset breast tenderness had a 33 percent greater subsequent risk of developing breast cancer than women who did not experience breast tenderness.

NJ docs beat fed deadline: Signing up in droves for electronic health records
The New Jersey Health Information Technology Extension Center (NJ-HITEC) announced today that it has reached the 5,000 primary care providers member milestone in support of the healthcare evolution to transition to patient Electronic Health Records (EHRs).

Antarctica's Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains mystery solved
National Science Foundation- funded researchers may have at last answered a 50 year-old conundrum.

Scientists identify treatable weakness in lethal form of prostate cancer
A recent report in Cancer Discovery, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, suggests that a new treatment may be on the horizon for neuroendocrine prostate cancers, the most lethal subtype of this disease.

Could lemmings be involved in regulating our climate?
The mention of lemmings usually evokes images of small rodents throwing themselves off the top of cliffs in acts of mass suicide; however, their reputations might no longer be determined by hearsay as a new report suggests they could be having an intricate effect on the Earth's climate.

Training in 'concrete thinking' can be self-help treatment for depression
Research provides the first evidence that depression can be treated by only targeting an individual's style of thinking through repeated mental exercises in an approach called cognitive bias modification.

Adolescents underserved at American Public Gardens
Seven benefits, seven challenges, and seven strategies were identified in a recent study of adolescent programming at public horticulture institutions.

The crisis of no new antibiotics: No action today, no cure tomorrow
The demise of antibacterial drug discovery, combined with increasing resistance, is pushing the world towards the unthinkable scenario of untreatable infections.

Many proposals in government's public health white paper lack evidence
Many of the proposed actions in the government's white paper,

MRI of little benefit to women with breast cancer despite its increasing use
The use of MRI for breast cancer screening and to guide treatment decisions is increasing, despite little evidence of its benefit, according to the first paper in the Lancet series on breast cancer.

Online course got newly qualified nurses, midwives and AHPs off to a flying start
Newly qualified nurses, midwives and allied health professionals who took part in an online course during their first year of employment reported increased clinical skills development and confidence.

Environmental conditions and predators affect Atlantic salmon survival in the Gulf of Maine
Atlantic salmon face new challenges in the Gulf of Maine, where changing spring wind patterns, warming ocean temperatures and new predators along migration routes are affecting their survival.

Sharp rise in consultants opting for early retirement as dissatisfaction with the NHS grows
The number of consultants taking voluntary early retirement in 2011 has shot up by nearly three quarters compared with 2010, according to a report by BMJ Careers today.

Friends with benefits
Humans and other primates rely on rewarding endorphins to bond with each other and maintain complex networks.

Corals can sense what's coming
Australian scientists have thrown new light on the mechanism behind the mass death of corals worldwide as the Earth's climate warms.

NASA's Chandra adds to black hole birth announcement
New details about the birth of a famous black hole that took place millions of years ago have been uncovered, thanks to a team of scientists who used data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory as well as from radio, optical and other X-ray telescopes.

Astronomers use advanced equipment aboard Hubble to reveal galaxies' most elusive secrets
New, high-precision equipment orbiting Earth aboard the Hubble Space Telescope is now sending such rich data back to astronomers, some feel they are crossing the final frontier toward understanding galaxy evolution, says Todd Tripp, leader of the team at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Founding of Science Europe
Since last Oct. 21, the Spanish National Research Council is one of the 50 European research organizations which make up Science Europe, a new organization looking to sustain the research excellence within the continent and enhance future prosperity and global competitiveness.

Researchers discover Achilles' heel in lethal form of prostate cancer
An international team of researchers led by clinicians at Weill Cornell Medical College have discovered a genetic Achilles' heel in an aggressive type of prostate cancer -- a vulnerability they say can be attacked by a targeted drug that is already in clinical trials to treat other types of cancers.

Job market for college grads has 'legs'
After last year's rollercoaster ride, the job market for college graduates has settled down and appears braced for slow but steady growth, according to Michigan State University's annual Recruiting Trends study.

Picower: Schizophrenia gene associated with psychiatric disorders and brain development
A new study co-authored by Li-Huei Tsai, director of MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, and her colleagues -- Karun K.

Rehabilitating vacant lots improves urban health and safety, Penn study finds
Greening of vacant urban land may affect the health and safety of nearby residents.

The modeling of multiple relationships in social networks
The following study creates models that identify and predict how multiple relationships form in social networks.

Arizona Engineering associate professor earns national recognition
A University of Arizona chemical and environmental engineering associate professor is the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Arizona Professor of the Year.

Wiley-Blackwell and the AAB launch new Wiley open access journal, Food and Energy Security
Wiley-Blackwell, the scientific, technical, medical and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons, Inc and the Association of Applied Biologists have launched Food and Energy Security, a new journal to meet the needs of authors and funders to publish international open access content in food and energy security.

UofL researcher determines how Legionnaires' bacteria proliferate, cause disease
A University of Louisville scientist has determined for the first time how the bacterium that causes Legionnaires' disease manipulates our cells to generate the amino acids it needs to grow and cause infection and inflammation in the lungs.

Marshall study shows nanoparticles used as additives in diesel fuels can travel from lungs to liver
Recent studies conducted at Marshall University have demonstrated that nanoparticles of cerium oxide -- common diesel fuel additives used to increase the fuel efficiency of automobile engines -- can travel from the lungs to the liver and that this process is associated with liver damage.

Study: Ozone from rock fracture could serve as earthquake early warning
New research, published this week in the journal Applied Physics Letters, suggests that ozone gas emitted from fracturing rocks could serve as an indicator of impending earthquakes.

The buzz around beer
Ever wondered why flies are attracted to beer? Entomologists at UC Riverside have, and offer an explanation.

Squid mystery in Mexican waters unraveled by Stanford biologist and a class of students
Stanford marine biologist William Gilly is studying Humboldt squid in Mexico's Sea of Cortez, where the creatures have been spawning at a much younger age and a far smaller size than normal.

European industry and research centers join forces
Major European suppliers of High Performance Computing technologies, Allinea, ARM, Bull, Caps Entreprise, Eurotech, ParTec, STMicroelectronics and Xyratex associated with HPC research centres BSC, CEA, CINECA, Fraunhofer, Forschungszentrum Juelich and LRZ have decided to combine forces to create a European Technology Platform, building on the previous work of PROSPECT and Teratec.

The Company of Biologists: Launch of mobile web interface
The Company of Biologists announces the launch of a mobile-optimized web interface for its journals Development, Journal of Cell Science, The Journal of Experimental Biology and Disease Models & Mechanisms.

Early breast cancer detection saves lives
MammaCare, a revolutionary tool that has set standards for teaching women and clinicians how to perform clinical breast exams, is training professionals around the country to detect lumps earlier and save lives.

In an enzyme critical for life, X-ray emission cracks mystery atom
Like a shadowy character just hidden from view, a mystery atom in the middle of a complex enzyme called nitrogenase had long hindered scientists' ability to study the enzyme fully.

Separating signal and noise in climate warming
In order to separate human-caused global warming from the

Molecules on branched-polymer surfaces can capture rare tumor cells in blood
The removal of rare tumor cells circulating in the blood might be possible with the use of biomolecules bound to dendrimers, highly branched synthetic polymers, which could efficiently sift and capture the diseased cells, according to new research at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Public willing to pay more for greener urban spaces
Research from the University of Sheffield has found that people are willing to pay up to £29.91 per month, or around £360.00 per year, for greener urban spaces.

PBX1 identified as a new pioneer factor underlying progression in breast cancer
The presence of a new pioneer factor, known as PBX1, can guide the response to estrogen in breast cancer cells according to researchers at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center in results published on Nov.

Bleak future for Bay area tidal marshes?
A new study published in PLoS ONE and led by PRBO Conservation Science projects a bleak future for San Francisco Bay's tidal marshes under high sea-level rise scenarios.

Vultures dying at alarming rate
Vultures in South Asia were on the brink of extinction until Lindsay Oaks and Richard Watson undertook observational and forensic studies to find out why the number of birds was falling so rapidly.

AGI releases revised 'Glossary of Geology'
The American Geosciences Institute is pleased to announce the release of the 'Glossary of Geology, Fifth Edition' ISBN: 978-0-922152-89-6.

Four new American Chemical Society podcasts shine a light on solar energy
The American Chemical Society released a series of audio podcasts highlighting the science and cutting-edge technology behind solar power.

Smart swarms of bacteria inspire robotics researchers
Adi Sklarsh at Tel Aviv University has discovered how bacteria collectively gather information to learn about their environment and find an optimal path to growth.

What bacteria don't know can hurt them
Bacteria enter a self-protective mode when they sense nutrients are low.

Biodegradable mulches successfully control weeds in container-grown arborvitae
Scientists in Italy evaluated the effectiveness of biodegradable mulches for weed control in container-grown giant arborvitae and measured the effects of the mulches on weed control, water consumption, evaporation, and substrate temperature.

Soybean adoption came early by many cultures, archaeologists say
Human domestication of soybeans is thought to have first occurred in central China some 3,000 years ago, but archaeologists now suggest that cultures in even earlier times and in other locations adopted the legume.

How the fly flies
Max Planck scientists discover gene switch responsible for flight muscle formation.

MU scientist eyeing enzymes that could help fight flu
The influenza virus remains a worldwide threat to humans, causing an average of 36,000 deaths and 200,000 hospitalizations each year in the United States alone.

ASMBS and ASGE issue white paper on endoscopic bariatric therapies (EBTs)
The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) and the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) have issued a new white paper on the potential role of endoscopic bariatric therapies (EBTs) in treating obesity and obesity-related diseases like Type 2 diabetes.

Multidisciplinary team of researchers develop world's lightest material
A team of researchers from UC Irvine, HRL Laboratories and the California Institute of Technology have developed the world's lightest material -- with a density of 0.9 mg/cc -- about 100 times lighter than Styrofoam.

Cartoon character to help boost uptake of life-saving drug which is not being used enough
An editorial in this week's Lancet is promoting a campaign to improve uptake of a life-saving drug that is barely being used despite its huge potential.

Researchers watch a next-gen memory bit switch in real time
For the first time, engineering researchers have been able to watch in real time the nanoscale process of a ferroelectric memory bit switching between the 0 and 1 states.

A mathematical model determines which nations are more stable and which are more likely to break up
Thanks to a new model created by an international research group, it is now possible to predict which European countries are more likely to become united or which are more likely to break up.

Duke study offers 7 safeguards for hydraulic fracturing
A new report by Duke University researchers offers several health and environmental measures for North Carolina lawmakers to consider as they debate legalizing horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.

Study identifies 'silent' stroke risk factors for children with sickle cell anemia
Factors such as low hemoglobin levels, increased systolic blood pressure, and male gender are linked to a higher risk of silent cerebral infarcts, or silent strokes, in children with sickle cell anemia, according to results from a large, first-of-its-kind study published online today in Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology.

UGA researchers develop 'super' yeast that turns pine into ethanol
Researchers at the University of Georgia have developed a

Treatment for juvenile offenders shows shows positive results 22 years later
Charles Borduin, a University of Missouri researcher, developed a treatment for juvenile offenders that has become one of the most widely used evidence-based treatments in the world.

Satellite images help species conservation
Organisms living on small islands are particularly threatened by extinction.

Planting depth's effect on container-grown trees
Researchers tested the effects of planting depth of container-grown liners of pin oak and littleleaf linden.

Increasing uterine expression of developmental genes may improve IVF success
New research in Developmental Cell suggests that increasing expression of certain developmental genes at precise times in the uterus might improve pregnancy rates from in vitro fertilization-embryo transfers, which remain low at around 30 percent.

Recent advance in detonation theory
A new detonation model is proposed and examined by experiment, in which the entropy principle is used to specify the final point of detonation process, and the Hamilton's principle is used to find the real path from the explosive to the final point.

The brain's zoom button
Researchers at the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology have discovered a key mechanism that can act like a zoom button in the brain, by controlling the resolution of the brain's internal maps.

Scripps Research scientists identify new class of antimalarial compounds
A international team led by scientists from the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF) and the Scripps Research Institute has discovered a family of chemical compounds that could lead to a new generation of antimalarial drugs capable of not only alleviating symptoms but also preventing the deadly disease.

SLAC research cracks puzzle of enzyme critical to food supply
Researchers used the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory to identify a key atom inside the part of the nitrogenase enzyme where atmospheric nitrogen is converted into a form that living things can use.

Fatigue linked to safety problems among EMS workers, Pitt study finds
Fatigue and poor sleep quality, which affect many emergency medical services workers, are linked to higher reported rates of injuries, medical errors and safety-compromising behaviors, according to a study by University of Pittsburgh researchers that is now available online in Prehospital Emergency Care and appearing in the January/March 2012 print edition. 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