Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 30, 2011
New type of solar cell retains high efficiency for long periods: ACS podcast
A new genre of a new solar cell with high efficiency in converting sunlight into electricity and the durability to last and last is the topic of the latest episode in the American Chemical Society's award-winning

Penn and Brown researchers demonstrate earthquake friction effect at the nanoscale
Earthquakes are some of the most daunting natural disasters that scientists try to analyze.

Self-monitoring of blood-thinning treatment almost halves risk of developing blood clots compared with conventional care
Patients who self-monitor their oral anticoagulation (blood-thinning) therapy with vitamin K antagonists such as warfarin nearly halve their risk of developing thromboembolic events such as deep vein thrombosis, stroke, and heart attack compared with those receiving conventional care, according to a meta-analysis published online first in the Lancet.

Scripps Florida scientist awarded $3.4 million for HIV/AIDS research
A scientist at the Scripps Research Institute has been awarded $3.4 million from the National Institutes of Health to study the mode of action and the therapeutic potential of a new compound that blocks a step of HIV replication not targeted by current therapies.

Journal of Neuroscience: Why evolutionarily ancient brain areas are important
Structures in the midbrain that developed early in evolution can be responsible for functions in newborns which in adults are taken over by the cerebral cortex.

Abrupt permafrost thaw increases climate threat
As the Arctic warms, greenhouse gases will be released from thawing permafrost faster and at significantly higher levels than previous estimates, according to survey results from 41 international scientists published in the Nov.

Study finds inadequate mask use among health care workers early in 2009 H1N1 outbreak
Inadequate use of masks or respirators put health care workers at risk of 2009 H1N1 infection during the earliest stages of the 2009 pandemic in the US, according to a study published in the December issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America.

NASA's Swift finds a gamma-ray burst with a dual personality
A peculiar cosmic explosion first detected by NASA's Swift observatory on Christmas Day 2010 was caused either by a novel type of supernova located billions of light-years away or an unusual collision much closer to home, within our own galaxy.

Health-care providers should be alert to risk of suicide among pregnant women and new mothers
Increased screening of pregnant women and new mothers for major depression and conflicts with intimate partners may help identify women at risk for suicide, U-M study concludes.

Are all hip replacement implants the same?
More than 270,000 Americans get hip replacement surgeries every year -- a number that is projected to double in the next decade as the population ages.

Improving patient care by improving nurses' work environment
A study published in the current issue of Health Care Management Review indicates that there are other aspects of registered nurses' (RNs) work environments that RNs perceive can also have a significant impact on the quality of care they deliver.

Bob Metcalfe receives Japan's C&C Prize for development of Ethernet
Bob Metcalfe, Internet pioneer and now professor of innovation at the University of Texas at Austin's Cockrell School of Engineering, has been recognized with an international award for his contributions to the development of the Internet.

British butterfly is evolving to respond to climate change
As global temperatures rise and climatic zones move polewards, species will need to find different environments to prevent extinction.

A Spanish botanist searches for prehistoric flora refuges in China
Jordi Lopez of the Barcelona Botanical Institute has joined local researchers in a study to locate and define

BMC anesthesiologists receive award from Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation
For the second consecutive year, anesthesiologists from Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine have received the prestigious Ellison C.

2 million Californians report mental health needs; most receive little or no treatment
Nearly two million adults in California, or about eight percent of the population, need mental health treatment but the majority receive no or inadequate services despite a California law mandating that health insurance providers include mental health treatment in their coverage options, according to a comprehensive new report by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Nano meets pharma at Harvard-BASF symposium
Experts in chemistry, applied physics, materials science, and pharmaceutical science are gathering this week for the BASF Advanced Research Initiative at Harvard University's symposium on pharmaceutical nanoformulations.

Researchers find some smartphone models more vulnerable to attack
New research from North Carolina State University shows that some smartphones specifically designed to support the Android mobile platform have incorporated additional features that can be used by hackers to bypass Android's security features, making them more vulnerable to attack.

Scientists discover anti-inflammatory polyphenols in apple peels
Here's another reason why

Unlocking the genetic and molecular mystery of soft-tissue sarcoma
Scientists at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston have uncovered important molecular and genetic keys to the development of soft-tissue sarcomas in skeletal muscle, giving researchers and clinicians additional targets to stop the growth of these often deadly tumors.

TAST 2011 -- Thrombolysis and Acute Stroke Treatment in 2011: Preparing for the next decade
Designed to serve a multidisciplinary audience of physicians, clinicians, and scientists interested in cerebrovascular disease, this 2.5-day conference will explore the state-of-the-art and future directions of research and clinical practice leading to enhanced medical care in the acute treatment of ischemic stroke.

Papyrus research provides insight into job training, prayer and more in the ancient world
A University of Cincinnati-based journal devoted to research on papyri from Egypt sheds light on job training, prayer, dream interpretation and belief in magic in the ancient world.

Study by deaf Oregon researcher breaks new ground in understanding drug-induced deafness
An Oregon Health & Science University researcher has published research that gives scientists new insight into why a specific class of antibiotics causes deafness.

Bush embryonic stem cell lines different from newly derived cell lines
Established human embryonic cell lines, including those approved for federal research funding under former President George W.

Violent video games alter brain function in young men
A functional magnetic resonance imaging analysis of long-term effects of violent video game play on the brain has found changes in brain regions associated with cognitive function and emotional control in young adult men after one week of game play.

Earthquakes: Water as a lubricant
Geophysicists from Potsdam have established a mode of action that can explain the irregular distribution of strong earthquakes at the San Andreas Fault in California.

Using radiation to sterilize insect pests may protect California fruits and vegetables
A new study published in the Journal of Economic Entomology shows that radiation can be used to effectively sterilize the light brown apple moth, an invasive pest to the California wine industry, as well as fruit and vegetable growers.

Self-referral leads to more negative exams for patients
Physicians who have a financial interest in imaging equipment are more likely to refer their patients for potentially unnecessary imaging exams, according to a new study.

Eating fish reduces risk of Alzheimer's disease
People who eat baked or broiled fish on a weekly basis may be improving their brain health and reducing their risk of developing mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study.

Surgeons perform better with eye movement training
Surgeons can learn their skills more quickly if they are taught how to control their eye movements.

New research distinguishes roles of conscious and subconscious awareness
What distinguishes information processing with conscious awareness from processing occurring without awareness?

Publicly releasing inspection data on meat processing facilities could have 'substantial benefits'
Publicly posting enforcement and testing data corresponding to specific meat, poultry, and egg products' processing plants on the Internet could have

NJIT researchers publish news of success with robots as learning tool
NJIT researchers, who have helped hundreds of science, mathematics, and technology teachers in New Jersey improve how students learn, have published a book chapter about their success using robotics as both a motivational and learning tool.

Training peers improves social outcomes for some kids with ASD
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who attend regular education classes may be more likely to improve their social skills if their typically developing peers are taught how to interact with them than if only the children with ASD are taught such skills.

UC research examines home births -- then and now
University of Cincinnati history research examines trends in US home births in the 1970s and paints a portrait of home-birth activists of the era -- activists who represented a broad cross section of society.

Study shows hospice caregivers need routine care interventions
A study led by the University of Kentucky researcher Elaine Wittenberg-Lyles found that hospice family caregivers are

Supercomputers take a cue from microwave ovens
As sophisticated as modern climate models are, one critical component continues to elude their precision -- clouds.

Stinky frogs are a treasure trove of antibiotic substances
Some of the nastiest smelling creatures on Earth have skin that produces the greatest known variety of antibacterial substances that hold promise for becoming new weapons in the battle against antibiotic-resistant infections, scientists are reporting.

NJIT professor plans 2012 sustainability workshop in Canada
NJIT Associate Professor Maurie Cohen, in the department of chemistry and environmental sciences, is heading a committee to plan a two-day workshop about challenging consumerism and living well sustainably.

New report: Community health plans improving care for patients with chronic illnesses
Community health plans are partnering with physician practices to initiate a range of care management programs for people living with chronic diseases; these programs have resulted in decreased emergency room use, improved health and lower costs.

Hebrew University researchers discover molecular machinery for bacterial cell death
Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Vienna have revealed for the first time a stress-induced machinery of protein synthesis that is involved in bringing about cell death in bacteria.

BUSM researchers develop blood test to detect membranous nephropathy
Research conducted by a pair of physicians at Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center has led to the development of a test that can help diagnose membranous nephropathy in its early stages.

Blood cell test for HIV treatment monitoring is cheaper but just as effective
A cheaper laboratory test that helps guide antiretroviral drug treatment for people with HIV/AIDS may be just as effective as a more sophisticated test, a group of international researchers has found -- a discovery that could be particularly important in rural Africa.

Collecting carbon in a concrete jungle
Land unsuitable for tree planting could still be used to reduce levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere thanks to new research.

MAKS: Drug-free prevention of dementia decline
There are many different causes of dementia and, although its progression can be fast or slow, it is always degenerative.

Medical researchers in Canada and the US discover hidden side of prion diseases
Medical researchers recently discovered that fatal prion diseases, which include BSE or

Is transparency bad for science?
As thousands more emails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit are leaked on the Internet, the latest issue of Index on Censorship magazine, Dark Matter, calls for a debate into science and transparency.

UCLA researchers demonstrate fully printed carbon nanotube transistor circuits for displays
Researchers outline the first practical demonstration of CNT based printed circuits for display backplane applications revealing CNT's viable candidacy as a competing technology alongside amorphous silicon and metal oxide semiconductor solution as a low-cost and scalable backplane option.

In a star's final days, astronomers hunt 'signal of impending doom'
An otherwise nondescript binary star system in the Whirlpool Galaxy has brought astronomers tantalizingly close to their goal of observing a star just before it goes supernova.

In the Dragonfish's mouth: The next generation of superstars to stir up our galaxy
Astronomers at the University of Toronto have found the most numerous batch of young, supermassive stars yet observed in our galaxy: Hundreds of thousands of stars, including several hundreds of the most massive kind --blue stars dozens of times heavier than our Sun.

Early sign of Alzheimer's reversed in lab
One of the earliest known impairments caused by Alzheimer's disease -- loss of sense of smell -- can be restored by removing a plaque-forming protein in a mouse model of the disease, a study led by a Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine researcher finds.

Chemical warfare of stealthy silverfish
A co-evolutionary arms race exists between social insects and their parasites.

Scientists use laser imaging to assess safety of zinc oxide nanoparticles in sunscreen
Ultra-tiny zinc oxide (ZnO) particles are among the ingredients list of some commercially available sunscreen products, raising concerns about whether the particles may be absorbed beneath the outer layer of skin.

Prior hospitalization for mental illness increases death risk in patients with chest pains
New research from Scotland has shown that the rate of death in men and women hospitalized for chest pain unrelated to heart disease is higher in those with a history of psychiatric illness than without.

Petroleum-eating mushrooms
Take a Petri dish containing crude petroleum and it will release a strong odor distinctive of the toxins that make up the fossil fuel.

Interethnic marriage between African- and Native-Americans produced many children
American Indians with African ancestry outdid

Astronomers look to neighboring galaxy for star formation insight
An international team of astronomers has mapped in detail the star-birthing regions of the nearest star-forming galaxy to our own, a step toward understanding the conditions surrounding star creation.

Super athletic mice are fit because their muscles burn more sugar
Researchers at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute have unraveled a mechanism that re-programs metabolic genes in muscles in a way that increases their capacity to use sugar.

Researchers' new recipe cooks up better tissue 'phantoms'
The precise blending of tiny particles and multicolor dyes transforms gelatin into a realistic surrogate for human tissue.

Caltech biologists deliver neutralizing antibodies that protect against HIV infection in mice
Researchers at the California Institute of Technology, and around the world, have been studying a group of potent antibodies that have the ability to neutralize HIV in the lab; Their hope is to create a vaccine that makes antibodies with similar properties.

Stronger corn? Take it off steroids, make it all female
A Purdue University researcher has taken corn off steroids and found that the results might lead to improvements in that and other crops.

Female biz owners at NJIT's EDC named top NJ entrepreneurs
Own It Ventures, in collaboration with New Jersey Monthly magazine, will honor three women business owners located at the NJIT Enterprise Development Center.

First analysis of tumor-suppressor interactions with whole genome in normal human cells
Scientists investigating the interactions, or binding patterns, of a major tumor-suppressor protein known as p53 with the entire genome in normal human cells have turned up key differences from those observed in cancer cells.

Journal of Materials Science announces Sapphire Prize for best paper of 2011
Springer and the editors of the Journal of Materials Science announce the winners of the Sapphire Prize, awarded to the best papers published in the journal during its 2011 Sapphire Anniversary Year.

Researchers examine role of inflammatory mechanisms in a healing heart
Virginia Commonwealth University researchers have found that an inflammatory mechanism known as inflammasome may lead to more damage in the heart following injury such as a heart attack, pointing researchers toward developing more targeted strategies to block the inflammatory mechanisms involved.

R. Michael Scott, M.D., receives the Franc D. Ingraham Distinguished Service Award
Children's Hospital Boston today announced that world renowned neurosurgeon R.

Clinical trial for muscular dystrophy demonstrates safety of customized gene therapy
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have shown that it is safe to cut and paste together different viruses in an effort to create the ultimate vehicle for gene therapy.

Genetic sequencing could help match patients with biomarker-driven cancer trials, treatments
A pilot study shows genetic sequencing could help match patients with biomarker-driven cancer trials.

Texas drought visible in new national groundwater maps
The record-breaking drought in Texas that has fueled wildfires, decimated crops and forced cattle sales has also reduced levels of groundwater in much of the state to the lowest levels seen in more than 60 years, according to new national maps produced by NASA and distributed by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Promising and perilous? The ambivalent role of the CXCL12/ CXCR4 axis in heart repair
The chemokine CXCL12 and its receptor CXCR4 have been proposed as targets for the treatment of myocardial infarction.

NASA satellite sees strong wind shear taking final toll on Tropical Storm 5A
For the last two days, strong wind shear in the Arabian Sea has pushed most of the clouds and showers associated with Tropical Storm 5A away from its center.

Controlled disorder -- scientists find way to form random molecular patterns
Scientists at the University of Nottingham have discovered a way to control how tiny flat molecules fit together in a seemingly random pattern.

Magnetic pole reversal happens all the (geologic) time
Scientists understand that Earth's magnetic field has flipped its polarity many times over the millennia.

Engineered botulism toxins could have broader role in medicine
The most poisonous substance on Earth -- already used medically in small doses to treat certain nerve disorders and facial wrinkles -- could be re-engineered for an expanded role in helping millions of people with rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, psoriasis and other diseases, scientists are reporting.

MIT: New algorithm may improve defensive driving
Researchers have developed an algorithm that predicts which cars are likeliest to run lights at intersections.

New approach to graft-versus-host treatment results in improvement for some patients
Scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have used IL-2, an immune system stimulant, as an immune system suppressor to treat a common, often debilitating side effect of donor stem cell transplantation in cancer patients.

Renowned UGA chemist Henry Schaefer honored with Humboldt Research Award
Henry F. Schaefer III, Graham Perdue professor of chemistry at the University of Georgia and director of the Center for Computational Chemistry in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, has been awarded a Humboldt Research Award from Germany's Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Artificial leaf could debut new era of 'fast-food energy'
Technology for making an

Biocompatible graphene transistor array reads cellular signals
Researchers have demonstrated, for the first time, a graphene-based transistor array that is compatible with living biological cells and capable of recording the electrical signals they generate.

Study finds savanna chimps exhibit sharing behavior like humans
A new study by Iowa State University anthropology professor Jill Pruetz reports that chimpanzees from her Fongoli research site in Senegal frequently share food and hunting tools with other chimps.

The newest of the new in gene therapy: 'Tag and target and exchange'
New research in the FASEB Journal demonstrates how a combination of two techniques improves the efficiency of experimental gene therapies, while reducing side effects.

Trail of 'stone breadcrumbs' reveals the identity of 1 of the first human groups to leave Africa
A series of new archaeological discoveries in the Sultanate of Oman, nestled in the southeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula, reveals the timing and identity of one of the first modern human groups to migrate out of Africa, according to a research article published in the open-access journal PLoS ONE.

U Arizona Wild Cat Research Center to study jaguar presence in the Southwest
The University of Arizona Wild Cat Research and Conservation Center is initiating three years of monitoring jaguar occurrence and movement in the US borderlands area using cameras and DNA analysis from scat collected in the field.

From gene to function
This study successfully identifies new genetic variants involved in the formation of platelets and more importantly, defines how genes near these variants affect platelet size and number using a series of biological analyses.

Lithosphere highlights for Dec. 2011
Highlights for LITHOSPHERE articles published online in the Dec. 2011 issue are provided below.

Simple blood test diagnoses Parkinson's disease long before symptoms appear
A new research report appearing in the December issue of the FASEB Journal shows how scientists from the United Kingdom have developed a simple blood test to detect Parkinson's disease even at the earliest stages.

Feasibility of using mycoherbicides to control illicit drug crops is uncertain
The effectiveness of using specific fungi as mycoherbicides to combat illicit drug crops remains questionable due to the lack of quality, in-depth research, says a new report from the National Research Council.

UBC study explores distrust of atheists by believers
Distrust is the central motivating factor behind why religious people dislike atheists, according to a new study led by University of British Columbia psychologists.

AGU journal highlights -- Nov. 30, 2011
Featured in this release are research papers on the following topics:

Loyola receives NIH grant to study vitamin D deficiency in African populations
Researchers at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine have received a five-year, $2.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study vitamin D deficiency in people of African descent.

Marzipan Santas, elves and stollen: Real deal or cheap fakes?
With the December holidays a peak season for indulging in marzipan, scientists are reporting development of a new test that can tell the difference between the real thing -- a pricey but luscious paste made from ground almonds and sugar -- and cheap fakes made from ground soy, peas and other ingredients.

Setting the stage for life: Scientists make key discovery about the atmosphere of early Earth
Scientists in the New York Center for Astrobiology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have used the oldest minerals on Earth to reconstruct the atmospheric conditions present on Earth very soon after its birth.

Yale researchers develop a way to monitor engineered blood vessels as they grow in patients
New research in the FASEB Journal describes how by using magnetic resonance imaging and nanoparticle technology, scientists can monitor the growth of laboratory-engineered blood vessels after implantation in patients.

Is it Alzheimer's disease or another dementia? Marker may give more accurate diagnosis
New research finds a marker used to detect plaque in the brain may help doctors make a more accurate diagnosis between two common types of dementia -- Alzheimer's disease and frontotemporal lobar degeneration.

A dash of physics thrown into the cocktail mix
In this month's edition of Physics World, Naveen Sinha and David Weitz from Harvard University reveal all, describing how some top-end bartenders are ditching trial and error for a more measured, controlled and scientific approach to the art of cocktail making.

Risk factors for CCSVI are similar to risk factors for developing MS, UB study shows
A University at Buffalo study of 252 volunteers has found an association between CCSVI and as many as three characteristics widely viewed as possible or confirmed MS risk factors.

Timing is everything: Bacterial attachment mimics just-in-time industrial model
Indiana University biologists and two physicists at Brown University with IU connections have shown that certain bacteria wait until the last minute to synthesize the glue that allows them to attach permanently to surfaces.

Heart attack risk differs between men and women
Findings on coronary CT angiography, a noninvasive test to assess the coronary arteries for blockages, show different risk scenarios for men and women, according to a new study.

Dieters should eat foods rich in protein, mostly from dairy, to protect bones during weight loss
New research suggests that a calorie-restricted diet higher in protein -- mostly from dairy foods -- and lower in carbohydrates coupled with daily exercise has a major positive impact on bone health in overweight and obese young women.

Cleveland researchers find possible breakthrough to relieve pain following spinal cord injury
A collaborative research group - led by researchers at Cleveland Clinic - published findings that indicate a one-time injection immediately after spinal cord injury can limit pain for an extended period of time.

Geology highlights: New research posted in Nov.
New GEOLOGY articles posted online ahead of print from Nov.

Hull research proves color is not a black and white issue
Scientists at the University of Hull have found that some people have the ability to hallucinate colors at will -- even without the help of hypnosis.

Trauma drug first for civilian ambulance service
A drug currently used to reduce bleeding in operating theaters and in trauma in the armed forces is set to be used by a civilian ambulance service for the first time in the UK, thanks to collaboration between the South West Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, hospitals across the South West of England and researchers from the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry.
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