Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 21, 2011
Astronomers discover deep-fried planets
Two Earth-sized planets have been discovered around a dying star that has passed the red giant stage.

Listen up: Abnormality in auditory processing underlies dyslexia
Although disrupted processing of speech sounds has been implicated in the underlying pathology of dyslexia, the basis of this disruption and how it interferes with reading comprehension has not been fully explained.

UCLA neuroscientists demonstrate crucial advances in 'brain reading'
A new study demonstrates several crucial advances in

Language learning through hip-hop music
Listeners can learn new vocabulary through hip-hop music, even though the lyrics may be difficult to understand, according to a study published in the Dec.

AgriLife Research adds new instrumentation to measure greenhouse gases
As greenhouse gases become more of a concern, determining the actual rates of emissions through scientific data is a growing necessity, according to a Texas AgriLife Research scientist in Amarillo.

New evidence that bacteria in large intestine have a role in obesity
Bacteria living in people's large intestine may slow down the activity of the

Proposals for reducing carbon dioxide emissions must balance with development needs
Efforts to combat climate change should take into account the development levels of different countries when negotiating agreements, according to a study published in the Dec.

Positive feedback and tumorigenesis
The protein c-MYC plays a central role in the regulation of basic cellular processes and is essential for cell proliferation.

Rare genetic mutations linked to bipolar disorder
An international team of scientists, led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, reports that abnormal sequences of DNA known as rare copy number variants, or CNVs, appear to play a significant role in the risk for early onset bipolar disorder.

Unprecedented international effort to improve safety of orthopedic devices
Responding to a need for better post-market surveillance of orthopedic devices, the U.S.

Research states that prejudice comes from a basic human need and way of thinking
Where does prejudice come from? Not from ideology, say the authors of a new paper.

Some nearby young stars may be much older than previously thought
New research from the University of Rochester concludes that the stars of Upper Scorpius are twice as old as previously thought.

Autologous stem cell transplantation does not improve os in patients with follicular lymphoma
High-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation (HDC-ASCT), for previously untreated patients with advanced follicular lymphoma (FL) does not improve overall survival compared with conventional-dose chemotherapy alone, according to an online study published Dec.

Researchers identify potential target to delay metastatic pancreatic cancer and prolong survival
Researchers from Thomas Jefferson University's Center for Translational Medicine found that reducing levels of a well-known, cell-surface protein known as N-cadherin slowed down pancreatic cancer cells' mobility and prolonged survival in mice.

Future is bright for ONR's lightweight, sun-powered generator
The US Department of the Navy continues its move toward renewable energy with an Office of Naval Research-funded solar generator that recently entered full production, with several systems already in the field.

UM researcher develops new way to assess risk for chemicals
Approximately 80,000 industrial chemicals are in use and about 700 new chemicals are introduced to commerce each year in the United States, according to the US Government Accountability Office.

Ave Atque Vale: Botany bids 'hail and farewell' to Latin-only descriptions in 2012
Big changes to the code for botanical nomenclature will go into effect on Jan.

Home washing machines: Source of potentially harmful ocean 'microplastic' pollution
The latest episode in the American Chemical Society's award-winning

Brain size may predict risk for early Alzheimer's disease
New research suggests that, in people who don't currently have memory problems, those with smaller regions of the brain's cortex may be more likely to develop symptoms consistent with very early Alzheimer's disease.

Discovery of 2 Earth-size planets raises questions about the evolution of stars
University of Toulouse and University of Montreal researchers have detected two planets of sizes comparable to Earth orbiting around an old star that has just passed the red giant stage.

NIST releases first certified reference material for single-wall carbon nanotubes
NIST has issued the world's first reference material for single-wall carbon nanotube soot.

How the brain cell works: A dive into its inner network
University of Miami biology professor Akira Chiba is leading a multidisciplinary team to develop the first systematic survey of protein interactions within brain cells.

More reasons to keep this New Year's weight loss resolution uncovered by Ben-Gurion U researchers
Rudich explains that switching to healthier dieting extends benefits beyond the single outcome of weight loss.

Genetics and immunity interact in dengue disease severity
Why one person and not another succumbs to dengue disease has been suspected, but not known.

ASGE recognizes 27 endoscopy units for quality and safety
The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy has recognized 27 endoscopy units as part of its program specifically dedicated to promoting quality in endoscopy, in all settings where it is practiced in the United States.

Supersized market economy, supersized belly: Wealthier nations have more fast food and more obesity
New research from the University of Michigan suggests obesity can be seen as one of the unintended side effects of free market policies.

Belize protected area boosting predatory fish populations
A 14-year study by the Wildlife Conservation Society in an atoll reef lagoon in Glover's Reef, Belize has found that fishing closures there produce encouraging increases in populations of predatory fish species.

Study highlights impact of sleep deprivation on patients and health care providers
A new UCLA study shows that physicians who work shorter shifts are less likely to make mistakes during medical procedures.

Self-affirmation may break down resistance to medical screening
People resist medical screening, or don't call back for the results, because they don't want to know they're sick or at risk for a disease.

Study uncovers clues to what makes anesthetics work
Researchers have uncovered what cells respond to anesthesia in an organism known as the C. elegans, according to a new study from the Seattle Children's Research Institute.

Disease-causing strains of Fusarium prevalent in plumbing drains
A study examining the prevalence of the fungus Fusarium in bathroom sink drains suggests that plumbing systems may be a common source of human infections.

Crowded emergency departments deliver less effective pain relief
Crowding in hospital emergency departments has led to decrease in effective use of pain medication.

How to build doughnuts with Lego blocks
Scientists have uncovered how nature minimizes energy costs in rings of liquids with an internal nanostructure made of two chemically discordant polymers joined with strong bonds, or di-blocks, deposited on a silicon surface, in an article about to be published in European Physical Journal E.

Study examines how diving marine mammals manage decompression
How do marine mammals, whose very survival depends on regular diving, manage to avoid decompression sickness or

Research finds Medicare and private insurance spending similar throughout Texas
Variations in health care spending by Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas are similar throughout the state despite previous research, which found significant spending differences between the private and commercial sector in McAllen, Texas.

NOAA Research covered the globe in 2011
NOAA scientists plumbed the deep ocean, probed the heights of the stratosphere, and surveyed some of the fiercest storm systems on Earth in meeting 2011's scientific challenges.

Partners offer performance excellence help for small businesses
A new collaboration between the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, the Alliance for Performance Excellence and the Alternative Board will provide resources and training for small businesses to improve their performance through the use of the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence.

Myths and truths of obesity and pregnancy
Ironically, despite excessive caloric intake, many obese women are deficient in vitamins vital to a healthy pregnancy.

Study details how dengue infection hits harder the second time around
One of the most vexing challenges in the battle against dengue virus, a potentially fatal mosquito-borne virus, is that getting infected once can put people at greater risk for a more severe infection down the road.

NIST special publication expands government authentication options
A newly revised NIST publication expands the options for government agencies that need to verify the identity of users of their web-based services.

Even limited telemedicine could improve developing health
A lack of infrastructure in developing countries, and particularly in rural areas, often ensures that healthcare provision is absent.

Southampton researchers help to outline world's land and water resources for food and agriculture
Researchers from the University of Southampton have contributed to a major international United Nation's report into the current status of the world's land and water resources for food and agriculture.

Researchers develop new method of cleaning toxins from the oilsands
Researchers at the University of Calgary have isolated biofilms that are indigenous to the oilsands environment and are highly tolerant to the stress associated with toxins and metals found in tailings water.

Aquatic therapy soon after total knee arthroplasty improves outcomes
According to a new study published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, beginning aquatic therapy just six days after total knee arthroplasty may lead to improved results, while delaying its onset an additional week may be more appropriate after a total hip arthroplasty.

Northwestern researchers trial new device that may support improved newborn health
Northwestern Medicine researchers are examining a new device that may support improved newborn health at delivery through closer monitoring of infant oxygen use during labor.

Astronomers, Iowa State's Kawaler discover planets that survived their star's expansion
NASA's Kepler Mission has helped astronomers discover two Earth-sized planets that survived their star's red-giant expansion.

New process could advance use of healthy cells or stem cells to treat disease
In a discovery that may help speed use of

Self-regulation of the immune system suppresses defense against cancer
Regulatory T cells, which are part of the body's immune system, downregulate the activity of other immune cells, thus preventing the development of autoimmune diseases or allergies.

Study reveals how normal cells fuel tumor growth
A new study has discovered how normal cells in tumors can fuel cancer progression.

JAMA commentary contends vitamin therapy can still reduce stroke
A commentary by Dr. David Spence of the University of Western Ontario and Dr.

How pregnancy changes a woman's brain
We know a lot about the links between a pregnant mother's health, behavior, and moods and her baby's cognitive and psychological development once it is born.

New method of infant pain assessment from Oxford published in JoVE
Recently, the accuracy of current methods of pain assessment in babies have been called into question.

Why bigger is better when it comes to our brain and memory
The hippocampus is an important brain structure for recollection memory, the type of memory we use for detailed reliving of past events.

Comprehensive study makes key findings of ocean pH variations
Some organisms already experiencing ocean acidification levels not predicted to be reached until 2100.

Having a cow can be a heart healthy choice
Lean beef can contribute to a heart-healthy diet in the same way lean white meats can, according to nutritional scientists.

UC Riverside scientists release natural enemy of Asian citrus psyllid
University of California, Riverside scientists released a natural enemy of the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) yesterday in a citrus grove on the UC Riverside campus to help control the spread of the psyllid, an invasive pest that could devastate the state's $1.1 billion citrus industry.

Gladstone and UCSF scientists provide a global view of how HIV/AIDS hijacks cells during infection
Gladstone Institutes scientist Nevan Krogan, PhD, today is announcing research that identifies how HIV -- the virus that causes AIDS -- hijacks the body's own defenses to promote infection.

Do our medicines boost pathogens?
Scientists of the Institute of Tropical Medicine discovered a parasite that not only had developed resistance against a common medicine, but at the same time had become better in withstanding the human immune system.

Do you hear what I hear? Noise exposure surrounds us
Nine out of 10 city dwellers may have enough harmful noise exposure to risk hearing loss, and most of that exposure comes from leisure activities.

Exploiting Trichoderma: From food security to biotechnology
From improving food security to their use as biotechnology power horses, Trichoderma fungi are increasingly being exploited by industry.

How to break Murphy's Law
Murphy's Law is a useful scapegoat for human error:

German Future Prize for DFG-funded researchers
Future technology for solar energy recognized by German President's award.

MIT research: Traditional social networks fueled Twitter's spread
MIT researchers who studied the growth of the newly hatched Twitter from 2006 to 2009 say the site's growth in the United States actually relied primarily on media attention and traditional social networks based on geographic proximity and socioeconomic similarity.

Gene links rare and unrelated cancers
Scientists at the BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, and the University of British Columbia are excited over a discovery made while studying rare tumor types.

Taking a predictive approach to identifying adverse drug reactions
In a move aimed at bolstering current systems for assessing and monitoring drug safety, researchers at Children's Hospital Boston have created a new method that combines multiple forms of widely available data to predict adverse drug reactions.

NIST sensor improvement brings analysis method into mainstream
An advance in sensor design by NIST researchers working with the University of Waterloo's Institute of Quantum Computing could unshackle a powerful yet high-maintenance technique for exploring material, expanding the scope of neutron interferometry from a test of quantum mechanics to a tool for industry.

Landmark discovery has magnetic appeal for scientists
A fundamental problem that has puzzled generations of scientists has finally been solved after more than 70 years.

Naval technology could be a lifesaver
Battlefield corpsmen and medical professionals across the country gained a valuable tool last week, as the Food and Drug Administration approved the first handheld device to detect life-threatening bleeding in the brain.

Pathogenic landscape of HIV
In perhaps the most comprehensive survey of the inner workings of HIV, an international team of scientists led by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco has mapped every apparent physical interaction the virus makes with components of the human cells it infects -- work that may reveal new ways to design future HIV/AIDS drugs.

How do we split our attention?
McGill's Cognitive Neurophysiology Lab team finds that we are natural-born multi-taskers.

Benefits of new air quality rules greatly outweigh costs
A report by researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health provides an expanded review of six new air quality regulations by the EPA.

ORNL image analysis prowess advances retina research
Armed with a new ability to find retinal anomalies at the cellular level, neurobiologists at St.

Notre Dame researchers develop paint-on solar cells
A team of researchers at the University of Notre Dame have created an inexpensive

PET technique promises better detection and response assessment for Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
Positron emission tomography and a molecular imaging agent that captures the proliferation of cancer cells could prove to be a valuable method for imaging a form of Non-Hodgkin's disease called mantle cell lymphoma, a relatively rare and devastating blood cancer.

10 years and counting: Updating scientific discoveries from the past
Whatever happened to...? Go ahead. Fill in the blanks with one of the highly publicized scientific advances of the past.

Winning fights increases aggression, even in crickets
Winning a fight can raise aggressiveness, and a study of fighting crickets, published Dec.

Autism Speaks awards 47 new research grants funding
Autism Speaks today announced the awarding of 47 new research grants totaling $13,242,279 in funding over the next three years.

Habit formation is enabled by gateway to brain cells
A brain cell type found where habits are formed and movement is controlled has receptors that work like computer processors to translate regular activities into habits, researchers report in the journal Neuron.

Pre-surgery exam rates vary widely among hospitals
Hospitals vary greatly in the number of patients who see an internal medicine specialist before major non-cardiac surgery, with rates ranging from five percent of patients to 90 percent, new research has found.

New research platform paves way for future bio-based society
The Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation is donating 112 million Danish kroner for a new platform which brings together Denmark's leading players within the sustainable use of biomass - the University of Copenhagen, DTU, A.P.

BGU psychology professor wins $2.6 million grant to study numerical cognition
The research will examine human abilities in this area, the underlying brain system involved, and the possibility that this system is the very first system that helps develop basic numerical skills.

Cryogenic testing completed for NASA's WEBB Telescope mirrors
Cryogenic testing is complete for the final six primary mirror segments and a secondary mirror that will fly on NASA's James Webb Space Telescope.

Breakthrough in treatment to prevent blindness
A UCSF study shows a popular treatment for a potentially blinding eye infection is just as effective if given every six months versus annually.

Heart disease study highlights Scottish ethnic groups most at risk
Scots of Pakistani origin are 50 percent more likely to be admitted to hospital with chest pain and angina than those of Indian ethnicity, a study has found.

Diagnosis, treatment of depression among elderly depend on racial, cultural factors
Despite improvements to diagnostic tools and therapies in the two last decades, significant disparities in the diagnosis and treatment of depression remain, according to Rutgers research.

Protecting computers at start-up: New NIST guidelines
A new draft computer security publication from NIST provides guidance for vendors and security professionals as they work to protect personal computers as they start up.

Scott & White physician recognized by Royal Australian and New Zealand College
Bob L. Shull, M.D., gynecologist and director of fellowship training in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive pelvic surgery at Scott & White Healthcare in Temple, Texas, has received an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

Balancing the womb
New research by academics at the University of Bristol hopes to explain premature births and failed inductions of labor.

UNC study could lead to a treatment for Angelman syndrome
An interdisciplinary team of UNC scientists say they have found a way to

Adult immunization needs to move up the health check list
Physicians have the responsibility to educate and inform patients so that they can make good decisions on their own.

Stanford engineers achieve record conductivity in strained lattice organic semiconductor
By packing molecules closer together, chemical engineers at Stanford have dramatically improved the electrical conductivity of organic semiconductors.

Entomology 2012 to showcase the latest insect science research
The Entomological Society of America invites scientists to submit Program Symposia for Entomology 2012, ESA's 60th Annual Meeting, which will be held in Knoxville, Tennessee, Nov.

Problems with a gastric band
As the number of people having gastric bands fitted to lose weight increases, so will the number of complications associated with the procedure.

The mall as a sanctuary: Study finds holiday shopping outlets aren't just shrines to spending
An international study of holiday shopping and religion finds that dominant religious groups are more likely to experience

Some 'low-gluten' beer contains high levels of gluten
Beer tested in a new study, including some brands labeled

Prototype NIST device measures absolute optical power in fiber at nanowatt levels
NIST researchers have demonstrated the first prototype device that measures optical power delivered through optical fiber at nanowatt levels.

An ecosystem being transformed - Yellowstone 15 years after the return of wolves
On the 15th anniversary of the return of wolves to Yellowstone National Park, a quiet but profound rebirth of life and ecosystem health is emerging, scientists conclude in a new report.

Astronomers discover rare galaxy at dawn of time
Astronomers, including the University of California, Riverside's Bahram Mobasher and his graduate student Hooshang Nayyeri, have discovered that one of the most distant galaxies known is churning out stars at a shockingly high rate.

Virginia Tech's Wu Feng unveils HokieSpeed, a new powerful supercomputer for the masses
Virginia Tech crashed the supercomputing arena in 2003 with System X, a machine that placed the university among the world's top computational research facilities.

Silk microneedles deliver controlled-release drugs painlessly
Bioengineers at Tufts University have developed a silk-based microneedle system able to deliver precise amounts of drugs over time and without refrigeration.

Women should still be concerned about hormone replacement therapy, say McMaster researchers
This study comes at a time when more women are again asking for this medication to control hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause.

Monitoring food with millimeter waves
We may be able to see through glass, water and air, but not packing paper, plastic or cardboard. 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