Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 13, 2011
$1.38 million to pick 'large' pieces of supernova grit out of meteorite
Ernst K. Zinner of Washington University in St. Louis, has received a three-year, $1,380,000 grant from NASA to study presolar grains in a sample of the Murchison meteorite.

American Cancer Society revises cancer screening guideline process
The American Cancer Society has revised its guideline formation process to achieve greater transparency, consistency, and rigor in creating guidance about cancer screening.

Unexpected signaling role for foul-smelling hydrogen sulfide in cell response to protein misfolding
CSHL scientists have discovered hydrogen sulfide -- the flammable, toxic gas associated with the smell of rotten eggs in landfills -- helps regulate a signaling pathway implicated in biological malfunctions linked to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, among others.

Major cause of chronic kidney disease-related inflammation is identified
UC Irvine researchers have uncovered an important source of inflammation seen in people with chronic kidney disease, which is increasingly common due to the epidemic of obesity-related diabetes and hypertension.

Starving orangutans might help to better understand obesity and eating disorders in humans
New research published today in Biology Letters, a Journal of the Royal Society, examining how endangered Indonesian orangutans - considered a close relative to humans -- survive during times of extreme food scarcity might help scientists better understand eating disorders and obesity in humans.

Report finds 1 in 50 babies has birth defect and highlights worrying gaps in regional monitoring
More than one baby in every 50 is born with a birth defect (congenital anomaly) according to the latest annual report by the British Isles Network of Congenital Anomaly Registers -- significantly more common than previously reported estimates of around one in 80.

NASA developing comet harpoon for sample return
Researchers want to send a spacecraft to rendezvous with a comet, then fire a harpoon to rapidly acquire samples from specific locations with surgical precision while hovering above the target.

A good nose: RUB-Researchers decipher interaction of fragrances and olfactory receptors
Banana, mango or apricot -- telling these smells apart is no problem for the human nose.

Findings on biochar, greenhouse gas emissions and ethylene
Adding a charred biomass material called biochar to glacial soils can help reduce emissions of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, according to US Department of Agriculture scientists.

Lying and sitting more comfortably
People who have to sit at work often have back pain.

An unmanned aerial vehicle that uses wind power like a bird -- pure genius
Queensland University of Technology Ph.D. student Wesam Al Sabban is a genius and has the medal to prove it!

Increased arm swing asymmetry is early sign of Parkinson's disease
People with Parkinson's disease swing their arms asymmetrically -- one arm swings less than the other -- when walking.

Cholesterol-lowering medication accelerates depletion of plaque in arteries
In a new study, NYU Langone Medical Center researchers have discovered how cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins promote the breakdown of plaque in the arteries.

New pink fancy-leaved caladium debuts
Plant breeders introduced a new fancy-leaved caladium characterized by leaves with large, attractive pink blotches.

Worms reveal new role for hormones in Bardet-Biedl syndrome
A new study has shed light on a genetic disease known as Bardet-Biedl syndrome -- a condition in which patients show mental and developmental delays, short stature, early onset blindness, kidney abnormalities and obesity.

Global resource for clinical microbiologists and immunologists debuts
The American Society for Microbiology has launched a clinical microbiology web portal that focuses all of ASM's clinical and external relevant content into one user-friendly site.

Do consumers prefer brands that appear on their Facebook pages?
You are likely to identify with a brand that advertises alongside your personal information on a Facebook page (especially if you have high self-esteem), according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Holiday shopping? Why does rubbing elbows turn consumers off?
Although holiday sales and events try to drive as many customers to retail stores as possible, a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research shows that the crowding may drive them away as well.

Inspired by insect cuticle, Wyss Institute develops material that's tough and strong
Researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have developed

Risk of stillbirth associated with factors known early in pregnancy
Stillbirth is associated with a range of health and socio-demographic factors identifiable before or at the start of pregnancy, including prior pregnancy outcomes, ethnicity and modifiable health factors, such as diabetes, obesity and smoking.

Study reveals an association between impatience and lower credit scores
A study conducted by Columbia Business School's Stephan Meier and Standford University's Charles Sprenger finds an association between impatience and lower credit scores.

Insulin signaling is distorted in pancreases of Type 2 diabetics
Altered insulin signaling, observed for the first time in the pancreases of human Type 2 diabetics, impairs the cells that produce insulin.

Commercial or communal: Why is outsourcing taboo for churches and pharmaceutical companies?
Consumers hold churches and pharmaceutical companies to different moral standards than other organizations, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

GSK and Dundee University collaboration to develop treatment for Huntington's disease
The University of Dundee and GlaxoSmithKline have entered into a joint research project to tackle Huntington's disease, an inherited brain disorder.

Nanoparticles help researchers deliver steroids to retina
Hitching a ride into the retina on nanoparticles called dendrimers offers a new way to treat age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa.

Endangered orangutans offer a new evolutionary model for early humans
Studying how the orangutans cope with a harsh environment may offer a glimpse into what early human ancestors faced, says Professor Nathaniel Dominy.

JDRF-funded study seeks to reduce cardiovascular risk
JDRF-funded researchers have begun enrolling adult patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in the REMOVAL study, to test whether metformin -- a drug commonly used to treat Type 2 diabetes -- could help prevent or reduce the risk of cardiovascular complications in people with T1D.

Asparagus benefits from X-ray treatment
Experiments to determine the effect of low-dose X-ray irradiation on asparagus found that the treatment significantly reduced aerobic bacteria and mold/yeast populations and helped to maintain sugar (glucose and fructose) levels.

Opioid abuse linked to mood and anxiety disorders
Researchers find that mood and anxiety disorders are highly associated with non-medical prescription opioid use.

Biopsy referral after PSA screening stays consistent over time
The US Preventive Screening Task Force recently concluded, amid considerable controversy, that the evidence does not support recommending PSA screening for men under 75 years old at all, because the risks outweigh the benefits.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers find potential target for treating metastatic cancer
Finding ways to counteract or disrupt the invasive nature of cancer cells, called

Reprogramming brain cells important first step for new Parkinson's therapy
In efforts to find new treatments for Parkinson's Disease (PD), researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have directly reprogrammed astrocytes, the most plentiful cell type in the central nervous system, into dopamine-producing neurons.

Ineffective group dynamics play a role in poor research reporting
Ineffective group dynamics within research groups and research collaborations contribute to the unrealistic picture of the data generated in scientific research, according to Judith Rosmalen and Albertine Oldehinkel from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

From teddy bears to iPhones, we overestimate what others will pay for goods
Compared to what they would pay themselves, most consumers overestimate what others are willing to pay for products, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Angioplasties performed at centers without on-site surgery services are safe, study finds
Contrary to current guidelines, Mayo Clinic researchers have found that angioplasties performed at centers without on-site cardiac surgery capabilities pose no increased risk for patient death or emergency bypass surgery.

Scientists discover why buttercups reflect yellow on chins
Scientists have found that the distinctive glossiness of the buttercup flower, which children like to shine under the chin to test whether their friends like butter, is related to its unique anatomical structure.

Elephant seal travels 18,000 miles
The Wildlife Conservation Society tracked a southern elephant seal for an astonishing 18,000 miles -- the equivalent of New York to Sydney and back again.

Analysis examines outcomes of certain procedures at hospitals without cardiac surgery capability
Despite current guidelines discouraging percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI; procedures such as balloon angioplasty or stent placement used to open narrowed coronary arteries) being performed at centers without on-site cardiac surgery capability, an analysis of previous studies finds that PCIs at these centers are not associated with a higher incidence of in-hospital death or emergency coronary artery bypass surgery compared to PCIs at centers with on-site surgery, according to an article in the Dec.

Preparing for future human exploration, RAD measures radiation on journey to Mars
The Radiation Assessment Detector, the first instrument on NASA's next rover mission to Mars to begin science operations, was powered up and began collecting data Dec.

Life after cigarettes
Life without cigarettes is not all doom and gloom. In fact, successful quitters are more satisfied with their lives and feel healthier, both one year and three years afterward, than those who continue to smoke.

Meeting the 'Challenge': Office of Naval Research funds new projects
In the spirit of science competitions that yielded technologies to send US astronauts to the moon, the Office of Naval Research selected five new basic research projects for significant funding, officials announced Dec.

First electronic optical fibers with hydrogenated amorphous silicon are developed
A new chemical technique for depositing a non-crystalline form of silicon into the long, ultra-thin pores of optical fibers is the first of its kind to use high-pressure chemistry for making well-developed films and wires of this particular kind of silicon semiconductor.

High levels of tau protein linked to poor recovery after brain injury
High levels of tau protein in fluid bathing the brain are linked to poor recovery after head trauma, according to a study from Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Antioxidant has potential in the Alzheimer's fight, UGA researchers find
A study by researchers in the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy has shown that an antioxidant can delay the onset of all the indicators of Alzheimer's disease, including cognitive decline.

Microneedle sensors may allow real-time monitoring of body chemistry
Researchers from North Carolina State University, Sandia National Laboratories, and the University of California, San Diego, have developed new technology that uses microneedles to allow doctors to detect real-time chemical changes in the body -- and to continuously do so for an extended period of time.

Online brand comments: How do they affect consumer decisions?
Consumer reactions to online comments depend on the number of comments and the reader's orientation (whether it's positive or negative), according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Physicists say they are near epic Higgs boson discovery
The Holy Grail of high-energy physics -- the predicted but elusive Higgs boson -- is almost within reach, and the Brandeis high-energy physics group, along with other particle physicists around the world collaborating on making the finding, is almost giddy with excitement.

Why does stating your intention lead you to purchase your favorite brand?
If you say you're going to buy something, you're more likely to do it.

Small reactors could figure into US energy future
A new study from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) concludes that small modular reactors may hold the key to the future of U.S. nuclear power generation.

Studies identify causes, risk factors for stillbirth
Common causes for stillbirth include obstetric complications and placental abnormalities, while factors that could be known at the start of pregnancy, such as previous stillbirth or pregnancy loss, were associated with an increased risk for stillbirth, although these and other factors accounted for only a small proportion of the overall risk, according to two studies in the Dec.

Largest ever gas mix caught in ultra-freeze trap
Scientists have made it easier to study atomic or subatomic-scale properties of the building blocks of matter known as fermions by slowing down the movement of a large quantity of gaseous atoms at ultra-low temperature.

Transcending tradition
A companion to the international exhibition

Social exclusion among shift workers and older people
Older people and those who work non-standard hours are less likely to feel integrated into society, according to a study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

Molecular markers can predict spread of cancer, guide treatment
Molecular markers found in cancer cells that have spread from a primary tumor to a limited number of distant sites can help physicians predict which patients with metastatic cancer will benefit from targeted radiation therapy.

Tireless research reveals secrets of the 'sleep hormone'
A team from the RI-MUHC has made a major breakthrough by unraveling the inner workings of melatonin, also known as the

Despite guidelines to the contrary, practitioners recommend time off for low back pain
Guidelines for clinical management of patients with low back pain (LBP) encourage health care practitioners to advise staying active and returning to work.

Weizmann Institute scientists make significant contributions to LHC findings
Senior members of the Institute's Particle Physics and Astrophysics Department have taken leading roles in the search for the Higgs boson.

NASA's Voyager spacecraft that toured outer planets nearing solar system edge
NASA's twin Voyager spacecraft carrying University of Colorado instruments and which launched in 1977 are nearing the end of the solar system after perhaps the most exciting interplanetary mission ever staged.

Study finds warfarin underutilized in women
New research has discovered that many women who could benefit from prescription warfarin (a blood thinner) for atrial fibrillation are not receiving the drug.

Molecular pathway may help reduce damage after heart attack
UH Manoa's John A. Burns School of Medicine assistant professor Michelle Matter and her colleagues in the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology and the Center for Cardiovascular Research have discovered a molecular pathway that may help reduce the damaging effects of an enlarged heart.

RI Hospital receives $1.5 million grant to study treatments for body dysmorphic disorder
Rhode Island Hospital has received a grant for more than $1.5 million from the National Institute of Mental Health for a five-year study on treatment for body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).

HIV drug reduces graft-versus-host disease in stem cell transplant patients, Penn study shows
An HIV drug that redirects immune cell traffic appears to significantly reduce the dangerous complication graft-versus-host disease in blood cancer patients following allogeneic stem cell transplantation, according to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania that will be presented today at the 53rd American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting.

Improved rainwater harvesting system promising
A new ridge-furrow-ridge rainwater-harvesting system with mulches was tested in a study using purple coneflower.

Restorative practices found to be effective alternative to zero tolerance in schools
Interviews and data from 40 schools suggest that restorative practices are effective alternatives to exclusionary and punitive zero-tolerance behavior policies mandated in many schools.

Nanoparticles help Mayo Clinic researcher deliver steroids to retina
Hitching a ride into the retina on nanoparticles called dendrimers offers a new way to treat age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa.

Prognostic model developed for MDS related to prior cancer therapy
A large-scale analysis of patients whose myelodysplastic syndrome is related to earlier cancer treatment overturns the notion that all of them have a poor prognosis, researchers from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center report at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology.

'Pep talk' can revive immune cells exhausted by chronic viral infection
Chronic infections by viruses such as HIV or hepatitis C eventually take hold because they wear the immune system out, a phenomenon immunologists describe as exhaustion.

Using many instruments to track a comet
In 16 years of data observations, the Solar Heliophysics Observatory (SOHO) -- a joint European Space Agency and NASA mission -- made an unexpected claim for fame: the sighting of new comets at an alarming rate.

Computerized tool takes a bite out of traditional apple testing
To measure the crispness of apples without relying on human test panels, researchers used a computerized penetrometer to assess firmness and texture of apple varieties and compared the results with sensory data from an expert panel.

Scientists provide potential explanation for mechanisms of associative memory
Researchers from the University of Bristol have discovered that a chemical compound in the brain can weaken the synaptic connections between neurons in a region of the brain important for the formation of long-term memories.

High-energy physicists set record for network data transfer
Researchers have set a new world record for data transfer, helping to usher in the next generation of high-speed network technology.

New test to indicate likely spread or recurrence of breast cancer
A Queensland University of Technology Ph.D. student has developed a potential breakthrough test for predicting the likelihood of the spread or return of breast cancer.

Some muscular dystrophy patients at increased risk for cancer
People who have the most common type of adult muscular dystrophy also have a higher risk of getting cancer, according to a paper published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In third-degree burn treatment, hydrogel helps grow new, scar-free skin
Johns Hopkins researchers have developed a jelly-like material and wound treatment method that, in early experiments on skin damaged by severe burns, appeared to regenerate healthy, scar-free tissue.

Iowa State engineers study how hills, nearby turbines affect wind energy production
Iowa State University engineers are using wind tunnel tests to study how hills, valleys and the placement of wind turbines affect the performance of wind farms.

Life on Kosterhavet's seabed analyzed
Kosterhavet National Park was created to provide a haven for both protected species and nature lovers.

The Leopoldina moves into its new headquarters in Halle
The German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development has provided €15.8 million from the second economic stimulus package for the extensive redevelopment for the refurbishment of the new headquarters of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina in Halle.

Picture book portrays a 'hoppy' future for endangered frogs
Move over Kermit. ASU microbiologist and author Elizabeth Davidson offers kids (and their parents) a pollywog hero and a forum for global environmental solution-building in

Sugar pump in plants identified
Researchers have discovered the protein that transports sucrose to the plant's vascular pathways.

Northwestern receives $10 million gift for life sciences graduates
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine has received a $10 million gift from the Walter S. and Lucienne Driskill Foundation to endow and name the Walter S. and Lucienne Driskill Graduate Training Program in Life Sciences.

The northern way -- how the North can become the world's foremost nuclear base
The North of England has the opportunity to become one of the world's leading nuclear manufacturing hubs, creating many thousands of new jobs and generating substantial economic growth for the UK, according to a University of Manchester report.

New relationship important for the mental health of widowers
Men who have lost their partner to cancer and who are still single four to five years after their loss run a far greater risk of developing mental illness than those who have managed to find a new partner, reveals a unique study of 691 Swedish widowers carried out at the Sahlgrenska Academy.

Mothers' weight before and during pregnancy affects baby's weight
A new study published in the journal Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica reveals that both pre-pregnant weight (body mass index) and weight gain in pregnancy are important predictors of babies' birthweight.

NYU physicists help narrow search for elusive Higgs boson, a building block of the universe
NYU physicists are part of a research team that has narrowed the search for the Higgs boson, a subatomic particle that is a building block of the universe.

Scientists forecast crops that adapt to changing weather
Crops that can cope with sudden fluctuations in the weather could be developed, thanks to fresh discoveries about the survival mechanisms of plants.

Important international collaboration with University of Guam researcher
The value of research conducted at the University of Guam Western Pacific Tropical Research Center (WPTRC) is appreciated locally and internationally.

N.H. voters have become less Republican since 1960s, new Carsey Institute research shows
New Hampshire voters are about to observe their first-in-the-nation presidential primary.

NASA's Fermi shows that Tycho's star shines in gamma rays
It's often called

Nostalgic consumers are more likely to give to charity
Nostalgia, a sentimental longing for the past, can boost donations and help drum up volunteers, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Chief scientific officer named first Richard L. Menschel Research Chair at Special Surgery
Steven R. Goldring, M.D., chief scientific officer, has been named the first Richard L.

Scientists develop vaccine that successfully attacks breast cancer in mice
Researchers at Mayo Clinic in Arizona and the University of Georgia (UGA) have developed a vaccine that dramatically reduces tumors in a mouse model.

Study explores men's ability to manage fear in ways that allow them to exhibit confidence
An Indiana University of Pennsylvania sociologist's study of mixed martial arts competitors found that these men have unique ways of managing fear that actually allow them to exhibit confidence.

Visualization of DNA synthesis in vivo
Researchers of the University of Zurich have discovered a new substance for labeling and visualization of DNA synthesis in whole animals.

A colonial heritage in scholarly interpretations of Mark's gospel
When the story of Jesus known as the Gospel of Mark began to circulate as a written text in the ancient Mediterranean cities, it became engaged in a form of negotiation with the Roman imperial culture.

Was Darwin wrong about emotions?
Contrary to what many psychological scientists think, people do not all have the same set of biologically

2 Pitt professors named Fellows by the American Association for the Advancement of Science
Two University of Pittsburgh professors in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences -- cognition scientists Anthony Grace and Christian Schunn -- have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for the contributions they have made toward the advancement of their respective fields.

Findings from the Swedish part of the European project EU Kids Online
Sweden has one of Europe's highest rates of Internet use among children.

AIUM 2012 Annual Convention rolls out comprehensive spectrum of ultrasound programming
Registration is open for the 2012 American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine Annual Convention and Preconvention Program to be held in Phoenix, Ariz., March 29-April 1, 2012, at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort.

New path to flex and stretch electronics
Berkeley Lab researchers have developed a promising new inexpensive technique for fabricating large-scale flexible and stretchable backplanes using semiconductor-enriched carbon nanotube solutions.

Studies identify most common causes, risk factors for stillbirth
Two studies by the Stillbirth Collaborative Research Network have identified the most common causes and risk factors for stillbirth, including causes such as preterm labor and risk factors that include diabetes and excess weight.

UCSF to receive tobacco papers, funding to improve public access to the documents
The US Department of Justice filed a proposed consent order today with a federal district court that finalizes requirements for three major tobacco companies to make internal documents public in accordance with an earlier ruling that the companies violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

DTU is participating in a European network on measurement of greenhouse gases
DTU is one of 34 institutions in 15 countries contributing to the measurements of other greenhouse gases than CO2 in a new EU-funded network, InGOS.

The mystery behind the building of muscle
Cell fusion, the union of precursor cells to form one large cell containing many nuclei, is crucial to the development and maintenance of several tissues; for example, the placenta, bone-reshaping osteoclasts and skeletal muscle.

Association of lifestyle and environmental factors with the risk of cancer
It has been well established that certain lifestyle habits relate to the risk of certain cancers (e.g., smoking and lung cancer).

A novel mechanism regulating stress is identified
A new study from Tufts researchers reports that the action of neurosteroids on a specific type of receptor is responsible for the physiological response to stress.

Patients with severe type of muscular dystrophy at increased risk of cancer
Compared to the general population, patients with myotonic muscular dystrophy (MMD; a form of muscular dystrophy marked by generalized weakness and muscular wasting that affects the face, feet, hands and neck) are at increased risk of cancer, primarily of the brain, ovary, colon and endometrium, according to a study in the Dec.

Thomas Jefferson University receives Science Center's QED Award for pancreatic cancer research
Hwyda Arafat, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of surgery at Thomas Jefferson University, and Mon-Li Chu, Ph.D., professor and vice chair of the department of dermatology and cutaneous biology, were awarded $200,000 from the University City Science Center's QED Proof of Concept Program for their breakthrough work on a diagnostic test for pancreatic cancer.

Thermotherapy rids azaleas of deadly fungal disease
Cuttings of 12 azalea cultivars were submerged in 50 C water before propagation, then submerged in a subsequent experiment for 20, 40, 60, and 80 minutes.

Dodging the cognitive hit of early-life seizures
About half of newborns who have seizures go on to have long-term intellectual and memory deficits and cognitive disorders such as autism, but why this occurs has been unknown.

All it takes is a smile (for some guys)
Does she or doesn't she ... ? Sexual cues are ambiguous, and confounding.

Self-epilation is an acceptable alternative to surgery in patients with mild trachomatous trichiasis
Teaching patients with mild trachomatous trichiasis -- a leading cause of blindness in low resource countries in which chronic conjunctivitis leads to scarring causing the eyelids to turn inwards and the eye lashes to rub the eye causing pain, corneal damage, and visual impairment -- to safely pull out the eyelashes touching their eye using clean forceps, is an acceptable alternative to surgery to preserving vision. 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