Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 11, 2012
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital launches data website for genome project
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital has launched a freely available website for published research results from the St.

How the brain puts the brakes on the negative impact of cocaine
Research published by Cell Press in the Jan. 12 issue of the journal Neuron provides fascinating insight into a newly discovered brain mechanism that limits the rewarding impact of cocaine.

Emergency medicine physicians develop device to stop lethal bleeding in soldiers
Two emergency medicine physicians with wartime experience have developed a weapon against one rapidly lethal war injury.

Updated American Cancer Society nutrition guidelines stress need for supportive environment
Updated guidelines on nutrition and physical activity for cancer prevention from the American Cancer Society stress the importance of creating social and physical environments that support healthy behaviors.

Gym benefits help Medicare plans recruit healthy seniors
Medicare Advantage plans are not allowed to exclude unhealthy (and costly) seniors, but new research in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that they have effectively used gym memberships to bring healthier (and more profitable) members into their subscriber base.

Researchers find first major gene mutation associated with hereditary prostate cancer risk
After a 20-year quest to find a genetic driver for prostate cancer that strikes men at younger ages and runs in families, researchers have identified a rare, inherited mutation linked to a significantly higher risk of the disease.

Gene identified as a new target for treatment of aggressive childhood eye tumor
New findings from the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital - Washington University Pediatric Cancer Genome Project have helped identify the mechanism that makes the childhood eye tumor retinoblastoma so aggressive.

Short, sharp shock treatment for E. coli
A short burst of low voltage alternating current can effectively eradicate E. coli bacteria growing on the surface of even heavily contaminated beef, according to a study published in the International Journal of Food Safety, Nutrition and Public Health.

Stretching exercises: Using digital images to understand bridge failures
With a random-looking spatter of paint specks, a pair of cameras, and a whole lot of computer processing, NIST engineer Mark Iadicola has been helping assure the safety of hundreds of truss bridges across the United States.

NIH scientists find cause of rare immune disease
Investigators at the National Institutes of Health have identified a genetic mutation in three unrelated families that causes a rare immune disorder characterized by excessive and impaired immune function.

Planets with double suns are common
Astronomers using NASA's Kepler mission have discovered two new circumbinary planet systems -- planets that orbit two stars, like Tatooine in the movie Star Wars.

Calculating what's in the universe from the biggest color 3-D map
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists and their colleagues in Sloan Digital Sky Survey III used visual data from nearly a million luminous galaxies for the most accurate calculation yet of how matter clumps together in the universe.

LSU professor discovers world's tiniest vertebrate
LSU's Chris Austin recently discovered two new species of frogs in New Guinea, one of which is now the world's tiniest known vertebrate, averaging only 7.7 millimeters in size -- less than one-third of an inch.

Increase dietary fiber, decrease disease
We should all be eating more dietary fiber to improve our health -- that's the message from a health review by scientists in India.

A wealth of habitable planets in the Milky Way
Six years of observations of millions of stars now show how common it is for stars to have planets in orbits around them.

New species of tiny frog is world's smallest vertebrate
Researchers have found two new frog species in New Guinea, one of which is the new smallest known vertebrate on Earth.

UMass Amherst chemical engineers boost petrochemical output from biomass by 40 percent
Chemical engineers boost petrochemical output from biomass by 40 percent.

Can we save the whales by putting a price on them?
Every year, a group of anti-whaling nonprofit organizations that includes Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd, and the World Wildlife Fund spend, by conservative estimates, some $25 million on a variety of activities intended to end commercial whaling.

Brain training computer game improves some cognitive functions relatively quickly
The brain training computer game

EARTH: Source code: The methane race
What is the lifespan of a natural gas deposit? How quickly is our planet's permafrost melting?

'I feel your pain ...'
According to a new study, workers who witness incivility towards colleagues feel negative emotions -- especially when the incivility is aimed at workers of the same sex.

Boston University School of Medicine researchers clarify link between salt and hypertension
A review article by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine debunks the widely believed concept that hypertension, or high blood pressure, is the result of excess salt causing an increased blood volume, exerting extra pressure on the arteries.

Parabens in breast tissue not limited to women who have used underarm products
New research into the potential link between parabens and breast cancer has found traces of the chemicals in breast tissue samples from all of the women in the study.

MIT research: A new sunflower-inspired pattern increases concentrated solar efficiency
A new sunflower-inspired pattern increases concentrated solar efficiency.

Toward the first shopping mall specifically adapted to persons with a physical handicap
Place Alexis Nihon, one of the largest shopping malls in downtown Montreal, will soon transform into a real living rehabilitation laboratory during the next few months.

Pitt astronomers determine color of the Milky Way Galaxy
A team of astronomers in Pitt's Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences announced today the most accurate determination yet of the color of the Milky Way Galaxy:

LSU astronomers discover origin of thermonuclear supernova
LSU astronomers recently discovered the solution to a long-standing fundamental problem of astrophysics: what produces thermonuclear, or Type Ia, supernovae, which are tremendous explosions where the light is often brighter than a whole galaxy?

Sandia cyber project looks to help IT professionals with complex DNS vulnerabilities
Sandia National Laboratories computer scientist Casey Deccio has developed a visualization tool known as DNSViz to help network administrators within the federal government and global IT community better understand Domain Name System Security and to help them troubleshoot problems.

Scientists discover a Saturn-like ring system eclipsing a sun-like star
A team of astrophysicists from the University of Rochester and Europe has discovered a ring system in the constellation Centaurus.

Discovery of the smallest exoplanets: The Barnard's star connection
The smallest exoplanets yet discovered orbit a dwarf star almost identical to Barnard's star, one of the sun's nearest neighbors.

Discovery could help stem smoking-related diseases
Sufferers of smoking-related lung diseases could have their debilitating symptoms reduced following the discovery of a potential new treatment.

Slippery when stacked: NIST theorists quantify the friction of graphene
Similar to the way pavement, softened by a hot sun, will slow down a car, graphene slows down an object sliding across its surface.

A diet rich in slowly digested carbs reduces markers of inflammation in overweight and obese adults
Among overweight and obese adults, a diet rich in slowly digested carbohydrates, such as whole grains, legumes and other high-fiber foods, significantly reduces markers of inflammation associated with chronic disease, according to a new study by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

A clue to the GI problems that plague many kids with autism?
New research from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health reports that children with autism and gastrointestinal disturbances have high levels of a bacterium called Sutterella in their intestines.

Cancer sequencing project identifies potential approaches to combat aggressive leukemia
Researchers have discovered that a subtype of leukemia characterized by a poor prognosis is fueled by mutations in pathways distinctly different from a seemingly similar leukemia associated with a much better outcome.

How the brain computes 3-dimensional structure
The ability of our brain to create a 3D representation from an object's 2D projection on the retina is not well understood and is likely to be highly complex.

Atrial arrhythmias detected by pacemakers increase risk of stroke
Silent atrial fibrillation is very common and may be the cause of many strokes that previously could not be explained.

People mimic each other, but we aren't chameleons
It's easy to pick up on the movements that other people make -- scratching your head, crossing your legs.

NIST releases 2 new SRMs for monitoring human exposure to environmental toxins
NIST has developed two new standard reference materials for measurements of human exposure to environmental toxins.

New model for epidemic contagion
Humans are considered the hosts for spreading epidemics. The speed at which an epidemic spreads is now better understood thanks to a new model accounting for the provincial nature of human mobility, according to a study published in European Physical Journal B.

ULMA and Tecnalia conduct crop testing with a special photovoltaic panel for greenhouses
The new photovoltaic module developed by the ULMA Agrícola consortium, the innovation area of the ULMA Group, and Tecnalia allows electricity to be generated without the crops being affected by over-shading.

ISG15: A novel therapeutic target to slow breast cancer cell motility
Interferon-stimulated gene 15, a ubiquitin like protein, is highly elevated in a variety of cancers including breast cancer.

Study offers clue as to why alcohol is addicting
Drinking alcohol leads to the release of endorphins in areas of the brain that produce feelings of pleasure and reward, according to a study led by researchers at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center at the University of California, San Francisco.

Astronomers find 3 smallest planets outside solar system
A team of astronomers led by scientists at the California Institute of Technology has discovered the three smallest confirmed planets ever detected outside our solar system.

Chemotherapy may influence leukemia relapse
The chemotherapy drugs required to push a common form of adult leukemia into remission may contribute to DNA damage that can lead to a relapse of the disease in some patients, findings of a new study suggest.

Rare ultra-blue stars found in neighboring galaxy's hub
Peering deep inside the hub of the neighboring Andromeda galaxy, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered a large, rare population of hot, bright stars.

Science Olympiad for North Jersey schools set for Jan. 12 at NJIT
Call this event the true battle of the brains as some 500 middle and senior high school students from throughout northern New Jersey descend on NJIT Thursday, Jan.

NASA's Kepler mission and UF astronomer find 2 new planets orbiting double suns
Using data from NASA's Kepler mission, a team that includes a University of Florida astronomer has discovered two new planets orbiting double star systems, something that had never been seen until last September.

Groundbreaking cancer research receives massive funding boost
Research into a ground-breaking treatment for bowel cancer at Queen's University Belfast has received a massive funding boost from Cancer Research UK.

Berkeley Lab seeks to help US assert scientific leadership in critical materials
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory aims to change the status quo by reviving the study of rare earths to better understand how to extract them, use them more efficiently, reuse and recycle them and find substitutes for them.

Diet counts: Iron intake in teen years can impact brain in later life
Researchers at UCLA have found that a lack of iron in the diet during the teenage years can have a negative impact on the brain years later, making the brain more susceptible to such disorders as Alzheimer's.

First step toward treatment for painful flat feet
A team led by the University of East Anglia has made an advance in understanding the causes of adult-acquired flat feet -- a painful condition particularly affecting middle-aged women.

Hip fracture guidelines tackle 'considerable variations' in UK and Irish hospital care
All patients with hip fractures should be fast-tracked through hospital emergency departments and operated on within 48 hours of admission, according to new consensus guidelines developed by UK experts in anesthesia, orthopedics, geriatrics and emergency medicine.

NASA sees Tropical Storm Heidi approaching Australia's Pilbara coast
Tropical Storm Heidi is forecast to make landfall today along the Pilbara coast of Western Australia as warnings pepper the coast.

NIST standard available for better diagnosis, treatment of cytomegalovirus
A new clinical reference material from NIST will help health care professionals more accurately diagnose and treat cytomegalovirus, a common pathogen that is particularly dangerous for infants and persons with weakened immune systems.

Hubble zooms in on double nucleus in Andromeda galaxy
A new Hubble Space Telescope image centers on the 100-million-solar-mass black hole at the hub of the neighboring spiral galaxy M31, or the Andromeda galaxy, the only galaxy outside the Milky Way visible to the naked eye and the only other giant galaxy in the local group.

Ideal number of embryos to implant during assisted conception can be 1 or 2 dependent on maternal factors, but never 3 or more for women of any age
Controversy exists over how many embryos should be implanted during assisted conception (in-vitro fertilization) therapy.

UNC scientists collaborate to find first major genetic mutation associated with hereditary prostate cancer risk
After a 20-year quest to find a genetic driver for prostate cancer that strikes men at younger ages and runs in families, researchers have identified a rare, inherited mutation linked to a significantly higher risk of the disease.

Increasing need for rehabilitation for eye disease
Visual rehabilitation will continue to increase in importance in the near future, particularly because the number of older patients is rising.

Scientists identify gene crucial to normal development of lungs and brain
Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have identified a gene that tells cells to develop multiple cilia, tiny hair-like structures that move fluids through the lungs and brain.

Advance toward an imaging agent for diagnosing Alzheimer's disease
Scientists are reporting development and initial laboratory tests of an imaging agent that shows promise for detecting the tell-tale signs of Alzheimer's disease in the brain -- signs that now can't confirm a diagnosis until after patients have died.

Scientists discover the first physical evidence of tobacco in a Mayan container
Scientists have discovered the first physical evidence of tobacco in a Mayan container.

Participating in marathons, half-marathons not found to increase risk of cardiac arrest
A new study finds that participating in marathons and half-marathons is associated with a relatively low risk of cardiac arrest, compared to other forms of athletics.

Evolution is written all over your face
Why are the faces of primates so dramatically different from one another?

Hubble breaks new ground with discovery of distant exploding star
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has looked deep into the distant universe and detected the feeble glow of a star that exploded more than nine billion years ago.

OU researchers predict the next big thing in particle physics: Supersymmetry
A better understanding of the universe will be the outgrowth of the discovery of the Higgs boson, according to a team of University of Oklahoma researchers.

Omega-3 fatty acids could prevent and treat nerve damage, research suggests
Research from Queen Mary, University of London suggests that omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish oil, have the potential to protect nerves from injury and help them to regenerate.

Treatment with light benefits Alzheimer's patients, Wayne State University finds
Exposure to light appears to have therapeutic effects on Alzheimer's disease patients, a Wayne State University researcher has found.

UofL centers have economic impact in excess of $5.7 million
During 2010-2011, University of Louisville Health Sciences Center faculty and students made an economic impact of more than $5.7 million in the four regions of Kentucky served by UofL Area Health Education Centers.

Researchers isolate protein linking exercise to health benefits
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists have isolated a natural hormone from muscle cells that triggers some of the key health benefits of exercise.

Professional development workshop for underrepresented, early-career minorities in the geosciences
The American Geosciences Institute, in collaboration with the National Academy of Engineering, is hosting a professional development workshop for underrepresented, early-career minorities interested in careers in research and academia.

New information on the waste-disposal units of living cells
Berkeley researchers have provided the most detailed look ever at the

Why do dew drops do what they do on leaves?
Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore once wrote,

Best way to boost adult immunizations is through office-based action, study finds
Promoting immunizations as a part of routine office-based medical practice is needed to improve adult vaccination rates, a highly effective way to curb the spread of diseases across communities, prevent needless illness and deaths, and lower health care costs, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

President Obama names Mildred Dresselhaus and Burton Richter as Enrico Fermi Award winners
President Obama has named Mildred S. Dresselhaus and Burton Richter as the winners of the Enrico Fermi Award, one of the government's oldest and most prestigious awards for scientific achievement.

Hubble solves mystery on source of supernova in nearby galaxy
Using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have solved a longstanding mystery on the type of star, or so-called progenitor, which caused a supernova seen in a nearby galaxy.

Study finds that treatment of depression can increase work productivity
A new study from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has found that employees with depression who receive treatment while still working are significantly more likely to be highly productive than those who do not.

Weizmann Institute and Max Planck Society establish a joint center for archaeology and anthropology
The agreement for the establishment of new Max Planck -- Weizmann Institute of Science Center in the Field of Integrative Archaeology and Anthropology is being signed today at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot.

AFOSR awards grants to 48 scientists and engineers through its Young Investigator Research Program
The Air Force Office of Scientific Research announced it will award approximately $18 million in grants to 48 scientists and engineers who submitted winning research proposals through the Air Force's Young Investigator Research Program.

The keys to helping patients, on the GP's computer
Let us assume that a patient goes to see his or her GP.

Simulating firefighting operations on a PC
Firefighters often put their lives at risk during operations, so it is essential they have reliable tools to help them do their job.

Why coffee drinking reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes
Why do heavy coffee drinkers have a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, a disease on the increase around the world that can lead to serious health problems?

Parkinson's treatment shows positive results in clinical testing
Researchers from the University of Florida and 14 additional medical centers reported results in the online version of the Lancet Neurology journal indicating that deep brain stimulation -- also known as DBS -- is effective at improving motor symptoms and quality of life in patients with advanced Parkinson's disease.

Stenting for stroke prevention becoming safer in high-risk patients
Placing a stent in a key artery in the neck is safer than ever in patients ineligible for the standard surgical treatment of carotid artery disease, according to a new study published online today in the Journal of Vascular Surgery.

Rice's 'quantum critical' theory gets experimental boost
New evidence this week supports a theory developed five years ago at Rice University to explain the electrical properties of unconventional superconductors and other classes of materials that have long vexed scientists.

Lab-made tissue picks up the slack of Petri dishes in cancer research
New research, using oral cancer cells in a three-dimensional model of lab-made tissue, demonstrates that previous models used to examine cancer may not be complex enough to accurately mimic the true cancer environment.

Outlook for an industry that touches 96 percent of all manufactured goods
The chemical industry, which touches 96 percent of all manufactured goods, is seeing positive signs for 2012, although the overall outlook is not rosy.

Worm seeks worm: Caltech researchers find chemical cues driving aggregation in nematodes
Scientists have long seen evidence of social behavior among many species of animals.

Kepler discovery establishes new class of planetary systems
Using data from NASA's Kepler Mission, astronomers announced the discovery of two new transiting

Planet population is plentiful
An international team, including three astronomers from the European Southern Observatory, has used the technique of gravitational microlensing to measure how common planets are in the Milky Way.

Selectively stopping glutathione sensitizes brain tumors to chemotherapy
Brain cancer cells are especially resistant to chemotherapy -- new research details the mechanism of this resistance and provides a powerful strategy for countering it.

ALMA early science result reveals starving galaxies
Astronomers using the partially completed ALMA observatory have found compelling evidence for how star-forming galaxies evolve into '

Internet addiction disorder characterized by abnormal white matter integrity
Internet addiction disorder may be associated with abnormal white matter structure in the brain, as reported in the Jan.

Earliest-yet observation of August supernova nails it: Destroyed star was white dwarf
The supernova SN2011fe, first noticed in August 2011 a mere 11 hours after it exploded, was the closest Type Ia supernova in decades and allowed astronomers to narrow down the identity of the progenitor star to something in the white dwarf range. 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