Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 10, 2012
Who's wealthy? Beyond net worth, asset and debt levels change our perceptions
Will borrowing money to buy a new car make you feel richer?

New treatment for chronic depression targets personality style
Researchers from the University of Southampton, in collaboration with psychologists from six other universities, have started a study to assess the impact of a new psychological therapy for chronic, or treatment-resistant, depression.

Researchers discover novel anti-viral immune pathway in the mosquito
Virginia Tech researchers have identified a novel anti-viral pathway in the immune system of culicine mosquitoes, the insect family to which mosquitoes that spread yellow fever, West Nile fever, dengue fever, and chikungunya fever belong.

Scripps Research scientists paint new picture of dance between protein and binding partners
Using a blend of technologies, scientists from the Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute have painted a new picture of how biochemical information can be transmitted through the modification of a protein.

KAIST's smart e-book system more convenient than paper-based books
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology announced that its research team headed by professor Howon Lee from the IT Convergence Research Institute has developed a technology that will make reading on smartphones and tablet PCs easier than now.

Classifying and recognizing soils training class to be offered by reclamation specialists
The Bureau of Reclamation will host its 2012 Earth School: Visual Identification of Soils and Introduction to Geotechnical Investigation March 6 - 8.

Height loss increases risk for fractures and death in older women
Older women who have lost more than two inches in height face an increased risk of breaking bones and dying, according to a new study published in the January issue of the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research and funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Behavioral management to reduce substance abuse, crime and re-arrest for drug-involved parolees
A study from Rhode Island Hospital has found that collaborative behavioral management may be effective in reducing substance abuse among convicted marijuana users who are paroled.

New book looks at 'Esalen and the Rise of Spiritual Privilege'
Fifty years ago the Esalen Institute near Big Sur, Calif., opened its doors to people seeking spiritual growth and personal transformation, attracting psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, futurists and movie stars.

UCSF, Sanofi collaborate to find new diabetes cures
The University of California, San Francisco has signed an alliance with international pharmaceutical company Sanofi to share expertise in diabetes research and identify drug targets that could lead to new therapies for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Scientists look to microbes to unlock Earth's deep secrets
Of all the habitable parts of our planet, one ecosystem still remains largely unexplored and unknown to science: The igneous ocean crust.

NASA's Fermi Space Telescope explores new energy extremes
After more than three years in space, NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope is extending its view of the high-energy sky into a largely unexplored electromagnetic range.

An apple a day isn't enough
Adults from 30 to 60 years old, especially those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, aren't consuming the daily recommended levels of fruits and vegetables.

The path less traveled: Research is driving solutions to improve unpaved roads
To improve the quality of unpaved roads, a Kansas State University graduate student is working with lignin, a sustainable material found in all plants.

University of Houston opens Sleep and Anxiety Center for Kids
Children who have chronic sleep problems may be much more likely to develop mental health disorders as adolescents and adults, according to Candice Alfano, associate professor in clinical psychology at the University of Houston and director of the new Sleep and Anxiety Center for Kids.

Global study sheds light on role of exercise, cars and televisions on the risk of heart attacks
A worldwide study, published in the European Heart Journal, has shown that physical activity during work and leisure time significantly lowers the risk of heart attacks in both developed and developing countries.

Nature Materials: Quick-cooking nanomaterials in microwave to make tomorrow's air conditioners
Engineering researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a new method for creating advanced nanomaterials that could lead to highly efficient refrigerators and cooling systems requiring no refrigerants and no moving parts.

Study evaluates blood potassium levels after heart attack and risk of in-hospital mortality
Patients hospitalized after a heart attack who had blood potassium levels of between 3.5 and less than 4.5 mEq/L (milliEquivalents per liter) had a lower risk of death than patients with potassium levels that were higher or lower than this range, according to a study in the Jan.

Nobel history illustrates gap in grants to young scientists
A new study by Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy illustrates a disconnect between government funding of biomedical research by young investigators and a novel standard by which to judge it: the Nobel Prize.

Promoting ethical and just environmental policy in Native America discussed in Environmental Justice
How best to ensure environmental justice for Native-Americans in terms of policy, governance, and activism on tribal lands?

Study examines accuracy of prognostic tools used to predict mortality among older adults
A review of 16 prognostic indices used to predict risk of death in older adults in a variety of clinical settings, such as in nursing homes and hospitals, found that there is insufficient evidence to recommend the widespread use of these indices in clinical practice, according to a study in the Jan.

C. Noel Bairey Merz to receive inaugural Journal of Women's Health Award at 20th Annual Congress on Women's Health
C. Noel Bairey Merz, M.D., F.A.C.C., will be awarded the inaugural Journal of Women's Health Award for Outstanding Achievement in Women's Health Research, to be presented at the 20th Annual Congress on Women's Health, March 16-18, 2012, in Washington, D.C.

Study shows early primate had a transitional lemur-like grooming claw
Celebrities are channeling a distant relative with what Harper's Bazaar describes as the latest trend in nail fashion for 2012: Claws.

Elsevier Foundation 2011 grants for women in science and libraries in developing countries
The Elsevier Foundation announced today the 2011 grant recipients for the Innovative Libraries in Developing Countries and New Scholars award programs.

No pain, no gain? Studies of the ideal way of making jump shots in handball
For handball players, ankle sprains are just part of life.

People with dementia have more preventable hospitalizations
Compared to individuals without dementia, people who subsequently developed dementia had a significantly higher rate of hospital admissions for all causes.

Fewer animal experiments thanks to nanosensors
Experiments on animals have been the subject of criticism for decades, but there is no prospect of a move away from them any time soon.

Marijuana smoke not as damaging to lungs as cigarette smoke
Large national study shows difference between lung function of cigarette and marijuana smokers; Doctors warn against other known complications.

Precancer markers identified in airway epithelium cells of healthy smokers
Smokers are more likely to have molecular features of cancerization in the large airway epithelium.

High rates of disability and health care use found in older Americans with cirrhosis
Older patients with cirrhosis have significant functional disability, require twice the amount of informal caregiving, and contribute added strain on the health care system, according to U-M research published in Hepatology.

Elsevier announces 2 Tetrahedron symposia for 2012
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, announced it will organize an extra Tetrahedron Symposium in 2012.

Gut hormone leads to weight loss in overweight or obese patients
Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is a hormone that is secreted from the intestine when we eat.

New educational program helps the siblings of children with cancer
Having a brother or sister with newly diagnosed cancer can be a distressing and difficult time for a child.

Would you stop eating out to lose weight?
Going out to eat has become a major part of our culture.

Unexpected discovery opens up new opportunities for targeting cancer
Scientists at the University of Leicester have opened up a whole new approach to the therapeutic intervention for a family of anti-cancer drug targets, thanks to a completely new and unexpected finding.

Lower risk of death linked with access to key attributes of primary care, UC Davis study shows
Greater access to features of high-quality primary care -- comprehensiveness, patient-centeredness and extended office hours -- is associated with lower mortality, according to a new national UC Davis study.

Surgeons aged between 35 and 50 provide the safest care
Surgeons aged between 35 and 50 years provide the safest care compared with their younger or older colleagues, finds a study published on today.The findings raise concerns about ongoing training and motivation of surgeons during their careers.

Gut microbe networks differ from norm in obese people, systems biology approach reveals
Scientists detected organizational shifts away from the normal lean state in the gut flora of people who were obese.

Chemistry, the environment's friend
Chemists often have to resort to destructive methods to analyze samples.

How can we improve global access to pain relief?
Jason Nickerson and Amir Attaran of the University of Ottawa, Canada examine in this week's PLoS Medicine the vast inequities in medical pain relief around the world, arguing that the imbalance has arisen from restrictive drug laws designed to prevent access to illegal substances, and proposing that the global control of licit narcotics be shifted from the International Narcotic Control Board to WHO.

Increased risk of developing asthma by age of 3 after cesarean
A new study supports previous findings that children delivered by cesarean section have an increased risk of developing asthma.

OU researchers to test 'quad porosity simulation' model for shale gas reservoirs
A University of Oklahoma interdisciplinary research team will field test a newly developed

70 percent of Europeans suffer from low vitamin D levels
A group of experts has prepared a report on vitamin D supplementation for menopausal women after it was revealed that Europeans have suffered an alarming decrease in their levels of this vitamin.

Disruption of biological clocks causes neurodegeneration, early death
New research provides evidence for the first time that disruption of circadian rhythms -- the biological

Researchers seek high-pressure materials without high-pressure processes
DARPA is seeking high-pressure materials without the limitations of scale of high-pressure processes.

University of Utah, Google seek answers for autism
A new study from the University of Utah describes how workshops to teach Google's 3-D modeling software to kids with autism have benefited the inter-generational relationships within the participants' families.

Springer partners with Belgian Neurological Society
Springer and the Belgian Neurological Society will collaborate to publish the journal Acta Neurologica Belgica.

Send in the supplies: RoboCopters in Marines' future
Marines running low on ammo may one day use an app on their digital handhelds to summon a robotic helicopter to deliver supplies within minutes, enabled by technologies from an Office of Naval Research program.

Asian-Americans getting better heart attack care
Care for Asian-American heart attack patients improved between 2003 and 2008, according to a study published today in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Damon Runyon grants Fellowship and Breakthrough Scientist awards to 21 top young scientists
The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on supporting innovative early career researchers, named 18 new Damon Runyon Fellows at its fall Fellowship Award Committee review.

Inflammation may link obesity and adverse pregnancy outcomes
A number of different immunological mechanisms ensure the successful establishment and maintenance of pregnancy.

Preventing mother to child transmission of HIV in Zimbabwe
Implementation of the latest WHO PMTCT (prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV) guidelines must take place in conjunction with improving access to PMTCT programs, increasing retention of women in care, and supporting adherence to drugs, in order to eliminate pediatric HIV in Zimbabwe.

New publication fosters improved wound care for ulcers, limb salvage, burns, trauma, and more
The rapidly advancing field of tissue injury and repair has an important new forum.

How can pediatric HIV be eliminated in Zimbabwe?
Eliminating new infant HIV infections in Zimbabwe will require not only improved access to antiretroviral medications but also support to help HIV-infected mothers continue taking their medication and safely reduce or eliminate breastfeeding, according to an article in the January issue of PLoS Medicine.

Cosmetic chemical hinders brain development in tadpoles
A new study finds that low concentrations of the chemical methylisothiazolinone has subtle but measurable negative effects on the neural development of tadpoles.

Ganetespib showed activity in KRAS-mutant NSCLC as monotherapy and in combinations
Novel Hsp90 inhibitor shows activity in slowing KRAS-mutant NSCLC tumor cell growth.

Treatment of psoriasis gets new hope
Researchers at Linkoeping University in Sweden are now launching a plan to effectively treat psoriasis.

Algae for your fuel tank
The available amount of fossil fuels is limited and their combustion in vehicle motors increases atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.

VLBA, RXTE team up to pinpoint black hole's outburst
Simultaneous radio and X-ray observations allow astronomers to calculate exact time when superfast

New findings by St. Michael's researchers about the way cells work
Dr. Philip Marsden has made new discoveries about the basic workings of endothelial cells that could lead to a diagnostic test for the serious kidney disease known as hemolytic uremic syndrome and a possible treatment.

Diseases and sex
In a study of sticklebacks, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön, together with colleagues from the Helmholtz Center for Marine Research in Kiel, have now shown that reoccurring infectious diseases determine which individuals produce a particularly large number of offspring in a population, and which immune genes increase in frequency in the next host generation.

UGA study offers hope for hemlock attack
Thousands of broken trees line the banks of the Chattooga River.

When galaxy clusters collide
The collision of two clusters of galaxies 5 billion light years away could help astronomers better understand

Hubble pinpoints furthest protocluster of galaxies ever seen
Using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have uncovered a cluster of galaxies in the initial stages of development, making it the most distant such grouping ever observed in the early universe.

JoVE partners with Stanford University for Medicine X Conference
The Journal of Visualized Experiments is partnering with Stanford University's Medicine X Conference to present groundbreaking research on the intersection between health care and social media.

Is there a dark side to moving in sync?
Two studies by USC Marshall School of Business professor find aligned action does not always lead to the common good.

El Gordo -- a 'fat' distant galaxy cluster
An extremely hot, massive young galaxy cluster -- the largest ever seen in the distant Universe -- has been studied by an international team using ESO's Very Large Telescope in the Atacama Desert in Chile along with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Atacama Cosmology Telescope.

World's most extreme deep-sea vents revealed
Scientists have revealed details of the world's most extreme deep-sea volcanic vents, five kilometers down in a rift in the Caribbean seafloor.

Dramatic links found between climate change, elk, plants, and birds
Climate change in the form of reduced snowfall in mountains is causing powerful and cascading shifts in mountainous plant and bird communities through the increased ability of elk to stay at high elevations over winter and consume plants, according to a groundbreaking study.

Brain activity linked to delusion-like experience in CAMH study
In a new study from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, people with schizophrenia showed greater brain activity during tests that induce a brief, mild form of delusional thinking.

NASA'S RXTE helps pinpoint launch of 'bullets' in a black hole's jet
Using observations from NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer satellite and the National Science Foundation's Very Long Baseline Array radio telescope, an international team of astronomers has identified the moment when a black hole in our galaxy launched super-fast knots of gas into space.

Kessler Foundation and USC collaborate on clinical virtual reality for disability research
Kessler Foundation and the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies will collaborate on clinical research projects applying virtual reality technology to cognitive and motor rehabilitation research in brain injury, stroke, spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis.

Early-stage breast cancer patients lack knowledge; may not receive treatment they prefer
According to the results of a new study published in the January 2012 issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, many early-stage breast cancer survivors lacked knowledge about their disease and were not meaningfully involved in treatment discussions or asked their preferences regarding the approach to treatment.

Researchers identify molecular 'culprit' in rise of planetary oxygen
A turning point in the history of life occurred two to three billion years ago with the unprecedented appearance and dramatic rise of molecular oxygen.

Diabetes study shines spotlight on lifestyle interventions
An Emory University study published in the January issue of Health Affairs assesses real-world lifestyle interventions to help delay or prevent the costly chronic disease that affects nearly 26 million Americans.

Clearing a potential road block to bisabolane
Joint BioEnergy Institute researchers have determined the three-dimensional crystal structure of a protein that is key to boosting the microbial-based production of bisabolane as a clean, green and renewable biosynthetic alternative to D2 diesel fuel.

Healing the iPhone's wounds
In a paper published today, Jan. 10, in Nature Nanotechnology, a team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Massachusetts Amherst propose a

Aeras and CNBG sign agreement on tuberculosis vaccine R&D
Aeras and the China National Biotec Group announce that they have reached final agreement to jointly develop new tuberculosis vaccines.

Hubble pinpoints farthest protocluster of galaxies ever seen
Using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have uncovered a cluster of galaxies in the initial stages of development.

Reuse of municipal wastewater has potential to augment future drinking water supplies
With recent advances in technology and design, treating municipal wastewater and reusing it for drinking water, irrigation, industry, and other applications could significantly increase the nation's total available water resources, particularly in coastal areas facing water shortages.

Long-term consequences of venous thrombosis
Linda Flinterman of Leiden University, the Netherlands and colleagues report in this week's PLoS Medicine on the long-term mortality rate for individuals who have experienced a first venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism.

Before they were stars
The stars we see today weren't always as serene as they appear, floating alone in the dark of night.

Smokers 'salivate' to cigarettes: The physiological reactions to associated images
It is commonly known that, much like Pavlov's dogs salivating in response to hearing the bell they associate with dinner time, smokers feel cravings and have physiological reactions to pictures they associate with smoking.

CMU will tap advanced computer methods to help doctors make sense of their patients' DNA
Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University say advanced computational tools will be the key to a new research project that, if successful, could enable doctors to routinely use information extracted from a patient's DNA to diagnose and guide treatment of diseases.

Revealing causality
The tools of mathematical modeling and computational science are being used to reveal causality focusing on various areas including blood flow in eye of glaucoma patients, brain circuitry in Parkinson's disease patients and flooding in watersheds.

University of Colorado-led study pinpoints farthest developing galaxy cluster ever found
A team of researchers led by the University of Colorado Boulder has used NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to uncover a cluster of galaxies in the initial stages of construction -- the most distant such grouping ever observed in the early universe.

Fusion plasma research helps neurologists to hear above the noise
Fusion plasma researchers at the University of Warwick have teamed up with Cambridge neuroscientists to apply their expertise developed to study inaccessible fusion plasmas in order to significantly improve the understanding of the data obtained from noninvasive study of the fast dynamics of networks in the human brain.

Swallow a pill and let your doc tour your insides
Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston have successfully tested a controllable endoscopic capsule, inspired by science fiction, that has the ability to

Tapping the body's own defenses, researchers look to cutting-edge gene therapy for bladder cancer
The prognosis for recurrent cancer is poor, which drives clinician-scientists like William Larchian, M.D., orologic oncologist, University Hospitals Urology Institute at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, and associate professor of surgery, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and his colleagues to develop an immunotherapy for bladder cancer that will stimulate the body's own natural defense mechanisms to cure the disease and prevent recurrence.

High rates of disability and health care use for older americans with cirrhosis
New research shows that older Americans with cirrhosis have significantly worse health status and greater functional disability compared to those without this potentially deadly disease.

New Geology research posted online Jan. 6, 2012
New Geology research reports on data suggesting that existing knowledge on the composition, structure, and dynamics of the upper mantle needs to be re-examined; observations providing groundwork for creating new quantitative models for reaction texture formation to place better constraints on the rates of metamorphic processes; fossilized fungi observed in samples representing a depth of 150 m below the seafloor; newly released reflection seismic data; and a transient change in groundwater temperature after earthquakes.

NSF grant to Wayne State aims to develop new ways to calculate odds of structural failure
Christopher Eamon, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, recently received a three-year, $250,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop an accurate and efficient method for calculating failure probability for computationally and probabilistically complex structural engineering problems, with the goal of achieving greater levels of consistency within a structure.

Niels Bohr Institute gets top researcher from Harvard
A grant of 38 million Danish kroner from the Villum Foundation paves the way for a brand new professorship at the Niels Bohr Institute for world leading researcher in the field of quantum physics, professor Charles Marcus.

Satellite imagery detects thermal 'uplift' signal of underground nuclear tests
A new analysis of satellite data from the late 1990s documents for the first time the

Predators hunt for a balanced diet
Predators select their prey in order to eat a nutritionally balanced diet and give themselves the best chance of producing healthy offspring.

War bound to bowl bound
As LSU and Alabama squared off for the national college football championship, even the most rabid Tiger or Tide fan might not realize the influence that the US military had in the widespread appeal of football.

Backing out of the nanotunnel
Nanopores provide a versatile tool for probing molecular structures. A new study shows that one can obtain more detailed information about the dynamic behavior of nucleic acids during passage through nanopores by directing them to asymmetric pores for the return journey.

Study establishes importance of tracking diseases associated with illegal wildlife trade
A collaborative study led by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified evidence of retroviruses and herpesviruses in illegally imported wildlife products confiscated at several US international airports, including John F.

New fibrosis classification improves accuracy of diagnosis in hepatitis C
A new classification for diagnosing fibrosis in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus has shown to be as accurate as currently used algorithms, but required no further liver biopsy.

Changing to a simple oral antibiotic administration programme could enable elimination of neglected yaws disease
Yaws -- a tropical bacterial disease of the skin, bones and joints -- has re-emerged in rural, tropical parts of Africa, Asia, and South America.

Young women often fail to spot their weight gain
In a study published online and in the March issue of the Journal of Women's Health, University of Texas Medical Branch researchers found that a significant number of women evaluated at six-month intervals did not recognize recent gains in weight.

Light now in sight
LMU chemist Dirk Trauner recently received an ERC Advanced Grant for a project based on what he calls

'Tiger mothers' should tame parenting approach
A Michigan State University professor is refuting the

Limited use of compulsory licensing of pharmaceuticals to protect public health
Reed Beall and Randall Kuhn of the University of Denver, US describe in this week's PLoS Medicine their findings from an analysis of use of compulsory licenses for pharmaceutical products by World Trade Organization members since 1995.

Persons with dementia have higher rate of hospitalizations
Compared to individuals without dementia, persons who developed dementia subsequently had a significantly higher rate of hospital admissions for all causes and admissions for ambulatory care-sensitive conditions for which proactive care may have prevented hospitalizations, according to a study in the Jan.

Marijuana use not associated with adverse effects on lung function
In a study in which participants had repeated measurements of lung function over 20 years, occasional and low cumulative marijuana use was not associated with adverse effects on pulmonary function, according to a study in the Jan. 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