Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 22, 2011
UNU announces launch of a groundbreaking global university research benchmarking system
The Global Research Benchmarking System, the first international university research benchmarking initiative, debuts on Nov.

Structural mechanism of southern Chinese traditional timber frame buildings
The structural mechanism of some typical mortise-tenon joints of Chinese southern traditional timber frame buildings were researched, which could provide the scientific basis for the repair of these ancient buildings.

New and varied imaging techniques facilitate personalized medicine
This year's change of name to

Hydrocarbon pollution along the coast of Galicia shot up five years after the Prestige oil spill
The results of a recent study by the University of Santiago de Compostela on Kentish Plover eggs has shown that there was a unexpected increase in hydrocarbon levels along the coast of Galicia five years after the Prestige oil spill.

UO chemists develop liquid-based hydrogen storage material
University of Oregon chemists have developed a boron-nitrogen-based liquid-phase storage material for hydrogen that works safely at room temperature and is both air- and moisture-stable -- an accomplishment that offers a possible route through current storage and transportation obstacles.

Smithsonian scientists use fossil feathers reveal lineage of extinct, flightless ibis
A remarkable first occurred recently at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History when ornithologists Carla Dove and Storrs Olson used 700- to 1,100-year-old feathers from a long extinct species of Hawaiian ibis to help determine the bird's place in the ibis family tree.

AMP opposes exclusive licensing of NIH proteomics patent
The Association for Molecular Pathology today opposed the National Institutes of Health proposal to exclusively license the subject matter of a cancer-related proteonomics patent application filed by the Agency.

Long-term follow-up of statin trial shows continued benefit and confirms safety of statin therapy
Long-term follow-up of the randomized Heart Protection Study, published Online First in the Lancet, shows that the benefits of statin therapy (ie, reductions in heart attacks, strokes, and other vascular disease) increased as statin treatment continued and persisted for several years after treatment had stopped.

Zinc supplementation does not protect young African children against malaria
A study led by Hans Verhoef, a researcher at Wageningen University, the Netherlands, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK, and published in this week's PLoS Medicine shows that supplementing young Tanzanian children with zinc -- either alone or in combination with other multi-nutrients -- does not protect against malaria.

Canadian Light Source making positive economic, scientific impacts for Canada
The Canadian Light Source synchrotron is making a strong contribution to the national, provincial and local economy, and has a positive return on investment in terms of academic and industrial research and the training of the next generation of scientists.

Among patients with infective endocarditis and heart failure, valvular surgery may reduce mortality
Among patients with infective endocarditis and heart failure, about two-thirds undergo valvular surgery, which is associated with a significant reduction in the risk of death in the hospital and at one year, according to a study in the Nov.

Happy, feel-good holiday seasons start with healthy choices at Thanksgiving, nutrition experts say
While most people only gain about a pound of weight during the holiday season, that pound may never come off, increasing the likelihood of becoming overweight or obese and the risk of related health problems, according to a National Institutes of Health study.

US patent awarded for Rochester's pioneering HPV vaccine work
The University of Rochester has been awarded a US patent for research essential to both human papillomavirus vaccines on the market.

New design for mechanical heart valves
To see if a more naturally asymmetric design could improve blood flow, researchers created aluminum models of asymmetric valves, similar in size to the valves of an adult human heart.

Bioengineering yields new approaches for diagnosing and treating traumatic brain injury
Bioengineering -- the application of engineering principles to understand and treat medical conditions -- is delivering innovative solutions for diagnosing and repairing damage to the brain caused by a traumatic injury.

Bat plant could give some cancers a devil of a time
In a study published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, researchers with the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio have found cancer-fighting potential in the bat plant, or Tacca chantrieri.

Seals show different levels of parenting skills
Grey seals have different types of personality that affect the extent to which they guard and care for their young, according to new research.

A new practical strategy for magnetic-force-microscope cantilevers with high isotropic coercivity
A research focus in the development of magnetic force microscopy is to improve the isotropic coercivity of the magnetic layer coated on a cantilever.

2 Tufts faculty honored by Obama for mentoring students in science and engineering
Peggy Cebe, professor of physics in the School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University, and Karen Panetta, professor of electrical and computer engineering in Tufts' School of Engineering, have won the Presidential Award for Excellence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics mentoring.

NASA's NPP satellite acquires first VIIRS image
The Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) onboard NASA's newest Earth-observing satellite, NPP, acquired its first measurements on Nov.

Andromeda Biotech: A drug for type 1 diabetes
The treated patients in the double-blinded study of DiaPep 277 showed significantly better pancreas function that the control group.

2 breakthrough innovations to address maternal and newborn deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa
Two projects, one using cell phones to deliver to expectant mothers in Kenya electronic vouchers for pre-natal care and transportation, the other aimed at promoting vaccines and maternal care in northern Nigeria, were each awarded a $250,000 grant today from Grand Challenges Canada, a member of the Saving Lives at Birth Partnership.

Chemical weapon in spider silk repels ant attack: New study
Researchers have shown for the first time how Golden orb web spiders add a chemical to their web silk to repel invading ants.

3 researchers in the Amazon clear up doubts as to the benefits of ecotourism
Ecological tourism has no effect on the presence of large mammals in the Amazon, according to a study that for the first time compares the biological diversity of ecotourism zones with that of protected areas.

Awareness biases information processing
How does awareness influence information processing during decision making in the human brain?

P Rex-1 protein key to melanoma metastasis
Researchers from UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center are part of a team that has identified a protein, called P-Rex1, that is key to the movement of cells called melanoblasts.

Great Lakes fish feed on invading shrimp
The latest invader of the Great Lakes -- Hemimysis anomala, or more commonly the bloody red shrimp after its bright red spots -- may become a new food source for fish, allaying concerns about how it will impact native fish populations.

Sharp decrease in deaths from sudden cardiac arrest
Only a few decades ago, sudden cardiac arrest was a death sentence.

Robojelly gets an upgrade
Engineers at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University have developed a robot that mimics the graceful motions of jellyfish so precisely that it has been named Robojelly.

Similar effects of beer and wine on the risk of cardiovascular disease
Research published in the European Journal of Epidemiology by Costanzo S, Di Castelnuovo de Gaetano G et al. has sought to separate the effects of wine, beer or spirit drinking in relation to fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular events.

Post-traumatic stress risk to police officers lower than previously thought
Although police officers are at a high risk of experiencing traumatic events (TE) in their work, they are no more likely than the general population to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The impending revolution of low-power quantum computers
By 2017, quantum physics will help reduce the energy consumption of our computers and cellular phones by up to a factor of 100.

New programming language to plug information leaks in software
The current method for preventing users and unauthorized individuals from obtaining information to which they should not have access in data programs is often to have code reviewers check the code manually, looking for potential weaknesses.

Psychological intervention reduces disability and depression in adolescents with fibromyalgia
A recent trial shows cognitive-behavioral therapy reduces functional disability and depressive symptoms in adolescents with juvenile fibromyalgia.

A first -- lab creates cells used by brain to control muscle cells
University of Central Florida researchers, for the first time, have used stem cells to grow neuromuscular junctions between human muscle cells and human spinal cord cells, the key connectors used by the brain to communicate and control muscles in the body.

EpiGen announces collaboration with Nestlé
The EpiGen Consortium, an international alliance of the world's leading epigenetics researchers -- A*STAR, National University of Singapore, University of Southampton, Medical Research Council - Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, AgResearch Limited, Auckland UniServices Limited -- are pleased to announce the creation of a research collaboration with Nestlé Research Center in Switzerland.

Stigma among HIV-positive women complex and overlapping
In this week's PLoS Medicine, Mona Loutfy of the University of Toronto, Canada and colleagues report their study examining experiences of stigma and coping strategies among HIV-positive women in Ontario, Canada.

Researchers draft blueprint to boost energy innovation
The US government could save the economy hundreds of billions of dollars per year by 2050 by spending a few billion dollars more a year to spur innovations in energy technology, according to a new report by researchers at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Depression and anxiety not linked to delayed resolution of abnormal mammograms, Pap tests
In what is believed to be the first study of its kind to examine the relationship between pre-existing depression (with and without anxiety) and the amount of time to diagnostically resolve an abnormal mammogram and/or Pap test, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine have found suffering from depression was not associated with a prolonged time to diagnostic resolution in a vulnerable population of urban women.

New formula can help set commissioning budgets for general practices
A new formula that can predict future health costs more accurately than previous models could help guide commissioning budgets for general practices under the government's new Health Bill, finds a study published on bmj.com today.

L-arginine: Supplement tested on fit, athletic men shows no advantage
While often prescribed for older adults with cardiovascular disease, endothelial dysfunction or hypertension for its vasodilation properties, L-arginine, a popular supplement, is rarely studied in younger, more vigorous populations.

Cedars-Sinai study: How does a 'good' protein hurt brain cells after clot-induced stroke?
The National Institutes of Health has awarded a four-year, $1.4 million grant to Cedars-Sinai's Department of Neurology to study an unexpected recent discovery: After ischemic stroke - the type caused by a clogged artery but with no bleeding into the brain - a normal protein that plays a positive role in blood clotting escapes intact arteries and damages healthy brain cells.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers find men less willing to be screened for cancer
Although men have higher cancer mortality rates than women, they are less willing to be screened for cancer, according to a study conducted by researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., and colleagues at Sanoa Consulting LLC, Muscle Shoals, Ala., and the New York University College of Dentistry.

Anorexia nervosa study finds inner conflicts over the 'real' self that have treatment implications
People with anorexia nervosa struggle with questions about their real, or

Substance in cancer medicine could prevent heart attacks
A substance in medicines for cancer and epilepsy could also prevent heart attacks, according to researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, who have been using it to stimulate the body's own defense system against blood clots.

Research micro-funding site SciFlies.org launches anew
The newly released website SciFlies.org allows the public to support research projects they find important and relevant, while helping scientists bridge the funding gaps between initial experiments, prototypes and fully funded studies.

$3.8 million grant investigates link between sleep apnea and atrial fibrillation
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has received a $3.8 million grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to study sleep apnea as a possible cause of atrial fibrillation, the most commonly diagnosed type of arrhythmia, or irregular heart rhythm.

A tiny flame shines light on supernovae explosions
Starting from the behavior of small flames in the laboratory, a team of researchers has gained new insights into the titanic forces that drive Type Ia supernova explosions.

Psychopaths' brains show differences in structure and function
Images of prisoners' brains show important differences between those who are diagnosed as psychopaths and those who aren't, according to a new study led by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers.

New projection shows global food demand doubling by 2050
Scientists David Tilman and Jason Hill of the University of Minnesota and colleagues found that producing the amount of food needed could significantly increase levels of carbon dioxide and nitrogen in the environment, and may cause the extinction of numerous species.

Turkey talk: 2 American Chemical Society videos digest Thanksgiving myth and fact
The American Chemical Society is offering two high-definition videos on the chemistry of Thanksgiving that could spark dinnertime conversation Thursday.

Arginine restores T-cell ability to target cancer
Tumors frequently suppress a patient's immune system in a way that keeps the cancer safe from immune system attack.

Nanowrinkles, nanofolds yield strange hidden channels
Wrinkles and folds, common in nature, do something unusual at the nanoscale.

Chemistry professor links feces and caffeine
Researchers led by professor Sébastien Sauvé of the University of Montreal's Department of Chemistry have discovered that traces of caffeine are a useful indicator of the contamination of our water by sewers.

McMaster study calls sodium intake guidelines into question
For years doctors have warned that too much salt is bad for your heart.

Earlier antiretroviral therapy might reduce the burden of cancer in those with HIV
HIV-infected patients are at increased risk for cancer as a result of both their impaired immune system and lifestyle factors, such as smoking, according to researchers at Kaiser Permanente.

Surprising pathway implicated in stuttering
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have obtained new evidence that at least some persistent stuttering is caused by mutations in a gene governing not speech, but a metabolic pathway involved in recycling old cell parts.

Breast Cancer and the Environment: IOM report release Dec. 7
Although women have little or no control over some of the risk factors for breast cancer, such as those related to aging and genetics, they may be able to reduce their chances for developing the disease by avoiding certain environmental risks.

Why has synesthesia survived evolution?
In the 19th century, Francis Galton noted that certain people who were otherwise normal

Karen Fox inducted as Fellow into Academy of Leisure Sciences
Karen Fox, a professor of leisure studies at the University of Alberta has pioneered leisure studies other scholars in the field often shy from: Hip hop and Aboriginal young people, Native Hawaiian people's perspectives of leisure, surfing culture.

Mental health research in LMICs needs good governance
In this week's PLoS Medicine Taghi Yasamy from the WHO, Geneva, Switzerland and colleagues identify challenges facing good mental health research governance in low- and middle-income countries and provide suggestions for a way forward.

Carbon mitigation strategy uses wood for buildings first, bioenergy second
New study is first to focus on the extra carbon savings that can be squeezed from trees when wood not suitable for long-term building materials is used for bioenergy: Depending on the process used, ethanol from woody biomass emits less greenhouse gas than an equivalent amount of gasoline, between 70 percent and a little over 100 percent less.

Girls feel more anger, sadness than boys when friends offend
Girls may be sugar and spice, but

Physical activity impacts overall quality of sleep
People sleep significantly better and feel more alert during the day if they get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week, a new study concludes.

Herbicide may affect plants thought to be resistant
Purdue University researchers have discovered a fine-tuning mechanism involved in plant root growth that has them questioning whether a popular herbicide may have unintended consequences, causing some plants to need more water or nutrients.

Babies who eat fish before 9 months are less likely to suffer pre-school wheeze
Children who started eating fish before nine months of age are less likely to suffer from pre-school wheeze, but face a higher risk if they were treated with broad spectrum antibiotics in the first week of life or their mother took paracetamol during pregnancy.

Study assesses association between urinary salt excretion and risk of cardiovascular events or death
For persons with cardiovascular disease or diabetes, urinary sodium excretion (a surrogate for salt intake) at higher levels or at lower levels compared to mid-range values was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events (for higher levels) or cardiovascular death and hospitalization for congestive heart failure (for lower levels), according to a study in the Nov.

UCSB professor receives award for graphene electronics research
Electrostatic Discharge Association's annual award recognizes innovations in graphene nanoelectronics research by Professor Kaustav Banerjee.

Consuming canned soup linked to greatly elevated levels of the chemical BPA
A new study from researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health has found that a group of volunteers who consumed a serving of canned soup each day for five days had a more than 1,000 percent increase in urinary bisphenol A (BPA) concentrations.

Special delivery: Nematode-infected insect cadavers
A custom-made machine for packaging mealworms infected with beneficial nematodes could improve the delivery, timing and use of the wormlike organisms as biological control agents.

Dendritic cells protect against acute pancreatitis
NYU Langone Medical Center researchers have discovered the novel protective role dendritic cells play in the pancreas.

Saving Da Vinci's Last Supper from air pollution
A multi-national team that includes USC scientists used the monitors to determine that indoor pollution has been drastically reduced at the church, though visitors enjoying the painting remain a potential source of soiling.

Is sustainability science really a science?
The idea that one can create a field of science out of thin air, just because of societal and policy need, is a bold concept.

UT Southwestern team identifies tumor-specific pathway
A research team led by UT Southwestern Medical Center scientists has identified an atypical metabolic pathway unique to some tumors, possibly providing a future target for drugs that could reduce or halt the spread of cancer.

Toll-like receptors play role in brain damage in newborns
Two out of every 1000 babies are at risk of brain damage in connection with birth.

New class of drugs for the reversible inhibition of proteasomes
Based on a high throughput screening of a substance library biochemists at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen have identified the lead structure of a new class of drugs that reversibly blocks the proteasome by a previously unknown binding mechanism.

Use of retail medical clinics rises 10-fold over 2-year period, study finds
Use of retail medical clinics located in pharmacies and other retail settings increased 10-fold between 2007 and 2009, according to a new study.

Paracetamol: Repeated ingestion of slightly too much can be fatal -- recognize and treat quickly
Repeatedly taking slightly too much paracetamol over time can cause a dangerous overdose that is difficult to spot, but puts the person at danger of dying.

When friends fail them, girls hurt worse than boys
Challenging earlier research about girls and their friendships, a new study by researchers from Boston College and Duke University finds that girls are more devastated than boys when their friends let them down.

Surgery improves endocarditis-induced heart failure survival rates
Surgery significantly improves short- and long-term outcomes in patients with heart failure caused by a bacterial infection known as endocarditis, according to Duke University Medical Center researchers.

BUSM researchers identify molecular mechanism that regulates wakefulness, sleep
Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine have, for the first time, identified an intracellular signaling enzyme that regulates the wake-sleep cycle, which could help lead to the development of more effective sleep aid medications.

Big boost to plant research
The four largest nonprofit plant science research institutions in the US have joined forces to form the Association of Independent Plant Research Institutes in an effort to target plant science research to meet the profound challenges facing society in a more coordinated and rapid fashion.

Olympic Villages: Catalyst for urban renewal, or post-Games hangover?
Mega-events like the Olympic Games are widely-regarded as key opportunities for cities to accelerate large-scale urban development projects through the construction of Olympic Villages.

The best way to market fine wine: Teach and learn or wine and dine?
According to new research, wine promoters may want to spend more money on brochures and fliers and less money on wine tastings as they market to novice wine drinkers.

Peering inside the 'deflagration-to-detonation transition' of explosions
Explosions of reactive gases and the associated rapid, uncontrolled release of large amounts of energy pose threats of immense destructive power to mining operations, fuel storage facilities, chemical processing plants, and many other industrial applications.

University launches iphone app for hepatitis treatment
The University of Liverpool has launched an iphone app, HEP i-chart, that provides Hepatitis C patients with quick and easy access to the latest information about drug interactions.

New service brings power of genomics to patient care
Physicians can now take advantage of a new genetics test -- one of the first of its kind to be offered in the United States -- that can help determine the best treatment for cancer patients.

First study to reveal how paracetamol works could lead to less harmful pain relief medicines
Researchers at King's College London have discovered how one of the most common household painkillers works, which could pave the way for less harmful pain relief medications to be developed in the future.

Commercial 'green' solar cells may be possible, say Pitt researchers
Developing solar energy that is low-cost, lightweight, and energy efficient has proven to be one of the greatest challenges the science world faces today.

On the road to plasmonics with silver polyhedral nanocrystals
Berkeley Lab researchers may have opened the door to a simpler approach for the fabrication of plasmonic materials -- one of the hottest new fields in high tech -- by inducing polyhedral-shaped silver nanocrystals to self-assemble into three-dimensional millimeter-sized supercrystals of the highest possible density.

Hurricane Kenneth becomes late-season record-breaking major hurricane
NASA satellites have been watching hurricane Kenneth in the eastern Pacific, and today, Nov.

Blocked holes can enhance rather than stop light going through
Conventional wisdom would say that blocking a hole would prevent light from going through it, but Princeton University engineers have discovered the opposite to be true.

Coffee may protect against endometrial cancer
Long-term coffee consumption may be associated with a reduced risk for endometrial cancer, according to a recent study in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
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