Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 17, 2012
US high-tech jobs lost as technological lead shrinks
The United States lost 28 percent of its high-technology manufacturing jobs over the last decade, as the nation's rapidly shrinking lead in science and technology in the global marketplace was accompanied by a toll on US high-tech jobs, according to a new study released today by the National Science Board, the policy-making body for the National Science Foundation.

Solutions for a nitrogen-soaked world
Nitrogen is both an essential nutrient and a pollutant, a byproduct of fossil fuel combustion and a fertilizer that feeds billions, a benefit and a hazard, depending on form, location, and quantity.

A first: Brain support cells from umbilical cord stem cells
For the first time ever, stem cells from umbilical cords have been converted into other types of cells, which may eventually lead to new treatment options for spinal cord injuries and multiple sclerosis, among other nervous system diseases.

Researchers study how chemicals in drugs and around us impact stem cells
The grant will allow them to study the impacts of known chemical compounds on adult stem cells, providing the most substantive information to date on how many of the chemicals used every day around the world impact stem cells.

New research to enhance speech recognition technology
New research is hoping to understand how the human brain hears sound to help develop improved hearing aids and automatic speech recognition systems.

Canada's first renal denervation procedure to reduce high blood pressure performed today
Doctors at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre today performed a minimally invasive surgical procedure to treat high blood pressure, called renal denervation, for the first time in Canada.

Plasmacytoid DCs: Tumor-killing immune cells
Some skin cancers can be successfully treated with a prescription cream containing the compound imiquimod.

Newborn screening program aims to help transform treatments for genetic diseases detected at birth
Pediatric researchers are developing tools to store long-term clinical data on children with conditions picked up in newborn screening tests.

Neurologically impaired children dependent on children's hospitals
Because of care advances, more infants and children with previously lethal health problems are surviving.

Evidence of past Southern hemisphere rainfall cycles related to Antarctic temperatures
Geoscientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the University of Minnesota this week published the first evidence that warm-cold climate oscillations well known in the Northern Hemisphere over the most recent glacial period also appear as tropical rainfall variations in the Amazon Basin of South America.

Breeding better grasses for food and fuel
Researchers from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council Sustainable Bioenergy Centre have discovered a family of genes that could help us breed grasses with improved properties for diet and bioenergy.

Pro athletes bolster star status through team selection, teammates and career evolution: Study
Basketball fans in Cleveland may disagree, but two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Lebron James' decision to play with a higher-profile Miami Heat team and all-star teammates shows sound marketing and career-management acumen, according to newly published business school research focused on the evolution and importance of star status for today's professional athletes.

Is it the alcohol or polyphenols in red wine that decreases cardiovascular disease?
Observational epidemiologic studies relating wine and alcohol to health all suffer from the fact that they, of necessity, compare people who prefer certain beverages, but not the beverages themselves.

Brisbane climate change study warns of many years of life lost
Associate Professor Adrian Barnett of QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation said while many other studies had examined death rates on hot and cold days, this was the first study to examine years of life lost.

New report reviews US nitrogen pollution impacts and solutions
The nitrogen cycle has been profoundly altered by the food demands of nine billion people.

Study finds that tumor cells can prevent cancer spread
A new study finds that a group of little-explored cells in the tumor microenvironment likely serve as important gatekeepers against cancer progression and metastasis, and suggest that anti-angiogenic therapies may inadvertently be helping cancer to spread.

Sleep preserves and enhances unpleasant emotional memories
Contrary to previous assumptions that sleep might soften negative emotional effects of a disturbing event, a period of sleep was associated with participants' maintaining the strength of their initial negative feelings compared to a period of wakefulness.

Powering electric vehicles with sunlight
The Riverside area will become a leader in powering electric vehicles from the sun under a $2 million award to the Center for Environmental Research and Technology at the University of California, Riverside's Bourns College of Engineering.

New vaccine against group B meningococcal disease to target this largest remaining source of such disease in Europe, North America, and some developing regions
A study published online first by the Lancet analyzes the efficacy of a new vaccine that includes protection against serotype B, which causes much of the remaining meningococcal disease burden across high-income countries (where it is common) and also regions such as South America (where it is the most prevalent strain).

Markerless motion capture offers a new angle on tennis injuries
A new approach to motion capture technology is offering fresh insights into tennis injuries -- and orthopedic injuries in general.

Study finds convincing evidence that the combined oral contraceptive pill helps painful periods
A large Scandinavian study that has been running for 30 years has finally provided convincing evidence that the combined oral contraceptive pill does, indeed, alleviate the symptoms of painful menstrual periods - dysmenorrhoea.

The link between TB and a gene mutation that causes lung cancer
Research presented in the February 2012 issue of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer's Journal of Thoracic Oncology shows a link between TB and mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor, a type of gene mutation found in non-small cell lung cancer.

Why would a struggling community shun corporate gifts? A study of Hurricane Katrina and Mardi Gras
Gifts and support from people of different social positions strengthen communities, especially in hard times, according to a new study of post-Katrina New Orleans in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Monitoring the impact of pneumococcal conjugate vaccination in The Gambia
Grant MacKenzie of the MRC Unit in the Gambia and colleagues describe in this week's PLoS Medicine how they set up a population-based surveillance system to assess the impact of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines on invasive pneumococcal disease and radiological pneumonia in children in the Gambia.

Knee replacement surgery incidence soars in those over age 50
Researchers in Finland found that annual cumulative incidences of partial and total knee arthroplasty, commonly known as knee replacement surgery, rose rapidly over a 27-year period among 30- to 59-year-olds in that country, with the greatest increase occurring in patients aged 50 to 59 years.

JCI online early table of contents: Jan. 17, 2012
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Jan.

Stomach cells may give rise to esophageal cancer
A new study is providing clues that may answer a decades-old question about the cells that give rise to a particularly lethal form of esophageal cancer.

U-M News: Kidney failure risk higher for liver transplant patients following policy change
Research from the University of Michigan Health System shows the risk for kidney failure among liver transplant recipients is higher following the implementation of Model of End Stage Liver Disease (MELD), a policy change in 2002 that altered how liver transplant allocation is decided.

City to lead on £2.4 million transport innovation project
The University of Leicester and Leicester City Council will lead on a project aimed at delivering green traffic management systems in European cities and towns.

Gossip can have social and psychological benefits
For centuries, gossip has been dismissed as salacious, idle chatter that can damage reputations and erode trust.

How does 365 days (instead of 1 year) affect consumer decision making?
How long it will take to bake a cake? Twenty-eight minutes or half an hour?

A baby crystal is born
Scientists determine the smallest possible cubic lead sulfide cluster that exhibits the same coordination (a key structural property) as bigger bulk crystals.

Program led to lower crime, fewer violent incidents among kids
A program built around the concept that kids can and want to reduce violence and improve their neighborhoods led to lower crime rates, better upkeep on homes and more students who said they learned to resolve conflicts without violence.

Why are wealthy consumers less likely to buy luxuries during a recession?
During an economic downturn, even people who are not directly affected spend less on goods and services that signal social status, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Study suggests junk food in schools doesn't cause weight gain among children
While the percentage of obese children in the United States tripled between the early 1970s and the late 2000s, a new study suggests that -- at least for middle school students -- weight gain has nothing to do with the candy, soda, chips, and other junk food they can purchase at school.

Adolescents' brains respond differently than adults' when anticipating rewards
Teenagers are more susceptible to developing disorders like addiction and depression, according to a paper published by Pitt researchers Jan.

Anti-malaria drug synthesized with the help of oxygen and light
In future it should be possible to produce the best anti-malaria drug, artemisinin, more economically and in sufficient volumes for all patients.

Rhode Island Hospital studies uncover keys in sudden cardiac death
Researchers from Rhode Island Hospital Cardiovascular Research Center have published two new studies focusing on the causes of arrhythmia and sudden cardiac death (SCD) when a genetic disorder, Long QT Syndrome, is present.

PNNL's Olympus supercomputer advances science, saves energy
Olympus, the new theoretical 162-peak-Teraflop supercomputer at PNNL, is helping scientists do more complex, advanced research in areas such as energy storage and power grid development.

Childhood cancer research grant awarded to the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital
It takes life-saving research and access to clinical trials to help children with cancer.

How far is far enough?
There is an increasing trend towards nimbyism -- people welcome developments in principle, so long as they are

Stanford computer algorithm used to identify bladder cancer marker
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have used an innovative mathematical technique to find markers that effectively predict how deadly a cancer will be.

The fermented cereal beverage of the Sumerians may not have been beer
4000-year-old cuneiform writings from Mesopotamia tell us little about the brewing techniques used at the time.

UF researchers discover 'green' pesticide effective against citrus pests
University of Florida researchers have discovered a key amino acid essential for human nutrition is also an effective insecticide against caterpillars that threaten the citrus industry.

Using contrasting colors to reduce serving sizes and lose weight
Choosing the right size and color of your bowls and plates could help you eat less, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

'Meating' a solution: Research finds that LED lights extend meat shelf life, save retailers money
Several Kansas State University researchers have found that using light-emitting diode, or LED, lights in refrigeration units could save the retail meat industry millions of dollars each year.

The perfect liquid -- now even more perfect
Ultra hot quark-gluon-plasma, generated by heavy-ion collisions in particle accelerators, is supposed to be the

Physical activity program leads to better behavior for children with ADHD
While children who suffer from attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder struggle with hyperactive-impulses and have trouble maintaining attention, a recent study found that a structured physical activity program may help to improve their muscular capacities, motor skills, behavior assessments, and the ability to process information.

AZTI-Tecnalia researches the use of vegetable by-products for animal feed
AZTI-Tecnalia has successfully completed the second of three phases to characterize by-products as set out in the Clean Feed project.

2-timing and hybrids: RUB researchers look back on 100 million years of evolution
For about 100 million years, grass smut fungi have been breeding in a three-gender system.

Counterfeit and substandard anti-malaria drugs threaten crisis in Africa, experts warn
Hopes of at last controlling malaria in Africa could be dashed by the emergence of poor quality and fraudulent anti-malarial medicines, warn experts writing in the Malaria Journal.

Increasing care needs for children with neurological impairment
In this week's PLoS Medicine, Jay Berry of Harvard Medical School, USA, and colleagues report findings from an analysis of hospitalization data in the United States, examining the proportion of inpatient resources attributable to care for children with neurological impairment.

Study reveals origins of esophageal cancer
Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have identified the critical early cellular and molecular events that give rise to a type of esophageal cancer called esophageal adenocarcinoma, the fastest-rising solid tumor in the United States.

Genetic code cracked for a devastating blood parasite
Scientists have cracked the genetic code and predicted some high priority drug targets for the blood parasite Schistosoma haematobium, which is linked to bladder cancer and HIV/ AIDS and causes the insidious urogenital disease schistosomiasis haematobia in more than 112 million people in Africa.

Retention study identifies key factors affecting 3 generations of nurses
Older nurses are more likely to be influenced by a larger number of factors when it comes to retention than younger nurses.

Natural enzyme provides potential new approach for treating graft-vs.-host disease
A natural enzyme derived from human blood plasma showed potential in significantly reducing the effects of graft-vs.-host disease, a common and deadly side effect of lifesaving bone marrow transplants.

Team finds natural reasons behind nitrogen-rich forests
Many tropical forests are extremely rich in nitrogen even when there are no farms or industries nearby, according to a team of researchers led by Montana State University.

Better together - The RN and the EHR
With the prodding of new federal legislation, electronic health records (EHRs) are rapidly becoming part of the daily practice of hospital nurses - the frontline providers of care.

Mathematician Luis Caffarelli wins prestigious Wolf Prize
Mathematician Luis Caffarelli has been named a winner of Israel's prestigious Wolf Prize.

From field to biorefinery: Computer model optimizes biofuel operations
Research into biofuel crops such as switchgrass and Miscanthus has focused mainly on how to grow these crops and convert them into fuels.

If doughnuts could talk they'd tell you to take the elevator instead of the stairs
Humanizing a brand can influence consumer behavior in a healthy or unhealthy direction -- depending on how they envision the brand, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Job-related injuries and illnesses estimated to cost nation $250 billion per year
In the first comprehensive review of its kind since 1992, a UC Davis researcher has estimated the national annual price tag of occupational injuries and illnesses at $250 billion, much higher than generally assumed.

International health experts call for a special UN session on mental health
A group of international health experts has called for a special session of the United Nations to focus global attention on mental, neurological, and substance use disorders as a core development issue requiring commitments to improve access to care, promote human rights, and strengthen the evidence on effective prevention and treatment.

Does anyone understand the government's NHS reforms, asks senior professor?
Despite 25 years of experience researching health systems, including writing over 30 books and 500 academic papers, Professor Martin McKee from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine says he still can't understand the government's plan for the NHS.

Power generation is blowing in the wind
By looking at the stability of the atmosphere, wind farm operators could gain greater insight into the amount of power generated at any given time.

A new artificial intelligence technique to speed the planning of tasks when resources are limited
Scientists at Universidad Carlos III in Madrid have presented a new technique based on artificial intelligence that can automatically create plans, allowing problems to be solved with much greater speed than current methods provide when resources are limited.

New microtweezers may build tiny 'MEMS' structures
Researchers have created new

New Collaborative Research Center 1044: The low-energy frontier of the standard model
The German Research Foundation has approved funding for the establishment of a new Collaborative Research Center at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.

Cell signaling key to stopping growth and migration of brain cancer cells
Inhibition of cell signaling through the Mer receptor tyrosine kinase pathway shown to both sensitize glioblastoma cells to chemotherapy and decrease their ability to migrate to other, non-targeted areas of the brain.

2012 Gastroinstestinal Cancers Symposium reveals new advances aimed at improving treatment, prognosis and detection of GI cancers
New research into the treatment, prognosis and early detection of gastrointestinal cancers was released today in advance of the ninth annual Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium being held Jan.

New model for possible malaria vaccination suggests mass vaccination for low transmission areas
In the event that a vaccine for the prevention of malaria is licensed and ready for use (such as the research malaria vaccine RTS,S, which currently looks promising), distributing and giving the vaccine to three-month old infants via the World Health Organization's Expanded Programme on Immunization will be the most efficient mechanism in high transmission areas but for lower transmission areas, mass vaccination every five years might be a more efficient vaccination strategy, a new study has found.

An easier way to remove gallstones
A new patented, ultra-specialized endoscope removes gallstones without the need to remove the gallbladder, too.

Biophysical Society announces New and Notable Symposium speakers
The Biophysical Society has announced the speakers for the New and Notable Symposium at the Society's 56th Annual Meeting in San Diego, California.

How does messiness affect consumer preference for simplicity?
A clean desk might not be all it's cracked up to be.

University of Maryland study: Headphone-distracted pedestrians face death, serious injury
Serious injuries to pedestrians listening to headphones have more than tripled in six years, according to new research from the University of Maryland.

Breast cancer spread triggered by a cleaver-wielding protein on cancer cell's surface
Scientists from the University of Helsinki, Finland, and from UCSF have exposed a cell pathway that breast tumor cells use to destruct local tissue neighborhood.

New NIDA resource helps families navigate addiction treatment options
A new resource, Seeking Drug Abuse Treatment: Know What to Ask, will help individuals and families struggling with addiction ask the right questions before choosing a drug treatment program.

Galileo to image objects in geosynchronous orbit faster
DARPA's Galileo program seeks to bridge the precision fiber optic controls and long-baseline astronomical interferometry technical communities to enable imaging of objects in GEO faster than is possible today.

Essential protein for the formation of new blood vessels identified
New research explains how cells regulate their bonds during the development of new blood vessels.

Polar growth at the bacterial scale reveals potential new targets for antibiotic therapy
An international team of microbiologists led by Indiana University researchers has identified a new bacterial growth process -- one that occurs at a single end or pole of the cell instead of uniform, dispersed growth along the long axis of the cell -- that could have implications in the development of new antibacterial strategies.

BGI enters agreement with National Center for Soybean Biotechnology to re-sequence 1,008 soybean lines
BGI, the world's largest genomics organization, announced today that it has been selected by the National Center for Soybean Biotechnology at the University of Missouri to re-sequence 1,008 soybean germplasm lines, commencing with an initial contract in 2012 to re-sequence the first 100 lines drawn from the university's ongoing soybean research.

Scripps research scientists create novel RNA repair technology
Scientists from the Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute have identified a compound that can help repair a specific type of defect in RNA, a type of genetic material.

Flaky graphene makes reliable chemical sensors
Researchers demonstrate that films made of randomly stacked graphene flakes can detect lower concentrations of some chemicals than films made of graphene crystals.

Blocking metabolic protein improves movement in animals with ALS
Turning off a protein that helps cells balance energy increases animal mobility and reduces the death of nerve cells that control movement in animal models of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), according to a study in the Jan.

Prevalence of obesity in US still high, with little change in recent years
There has not been significant change in the prevalence of obesity in the US, with data from 2009-2010 indicating that about one in three adults and one in six children and teens are obese; however, there have been increases in certain demographics, according to two studies being published by JAMA.

The illusion of courage: Why people mispredict their behavior in embarrassing situations
Whether it's investing in stocks, bungee jumping or public speaking, why do we often plan to take risks but then

Effects of Tamiflu still uncertain, warn experts, as Roche continues to withhold key trial data
A new report by the Cochrane Collaboration says Roche's refusal to provide full access to all its data leaves critical questions about how well the drug works unresolved.

Research reveals power of the subconscious in human fear
The human subconscious has a bigger impact than previously thought on how we respond to danger, according to research led by the University of Exeter.

Tropical classroom inspires exhibit, Smithsonian field station design
The ASU Design School traveling studio introduced graduate students in architecture, biology and design to Panama's tropical forest and Smithsonian researchers.

Arm in plaster changes brain in 16 days
People who only use their left hand after breaking their right arm already exhibit significant anatomical changes in particular areas of the brain within 16 days.

Defective cell 'battery' plays central role in neurodegenerative disease
A devastating neurodegenerative disease that first appears in toddlers just as they are beginning to walk has been traced to defects in mitochondria, the 'batteries' or energy-producing power plants of cells.

Mental illness protects some inmates from returning to jail
People with mental illness have gotten a bad rap in past studies, being labeled the group of people with the highest return rates to prison.

UC Davis dermatologists find telemedicine effective for patient care
UC Davis Health System dermatologists, using videoconferencing technology known as telemedicine, have determined that live interactive consultations can improve clinical outcomes for patients because they usually involve beneficial changes in medical diagnosis and disease management that otherwise might not occur.

Pioneering engineers turn destructive plant into valuable carbon
Researchers in Scotland and Cuba are ridding the Caribbean nation of a major ecological problem while producing one of the world's most sought after substances.

Continuing uncertainties surround anti-influenza drug
Incomplete availability of data has hampered a thorough assessment of the evidence for using the anti-influenza drug oseltamivir, a Cochrane Review has found.

Louisiana Tech professor co-edits book on computational analysis of human eye
Dr. Sumeet Dua, the Upchurch Endowed Professor of Computer Science and coordinator of information technology research at Louisiana Tech University, has co-edited a new book on computational modeling methods that can help ophthalmologists develop innovative computer systems to provide critical support and better care options for patients.

Juvenile predation preventing Steller sea lion recovery
A new study suggests that the impact of predation on juvenile Steller sea lions in the Gulf of Alaska has been significantly underestimated, creating a

Kessler Foundation reports greater brain activation after cognitive rehabilitation for MS
Scientists at Kessler Foundation have documented increased cerebral activation in patients with multiple sclerosis following memory retraining using modified Story Memory Technique.

Focus on glaucoma origins continues path toward potential cure
In certain cases of glaucoma, blockage in the eye's trabecular meshwork tissue results from a build-up of the protein myocilin.

Fruit flies watch the sky to stay on course
New research demonstrates that fruit flies keep their bearings by using the polarization pattern of natural skylight, bolstering the belief that many, if not all, insects have that capability.

Neutron scattering provides window into surface interactions
To better understand the fundamental behavior of molecules at surfaces, researchers at the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory are combining the powers of neutron scattering with chemical analysis.

Canadian-led research team develop new model to anticipate disease outbreaks at 2012 Olympics
A research team led by St. Michael's Hospital's Dr. Kamran Khan is teaming up with British authorities to anticipate and track the risk for an infectious disease outbreak at the London Olympics this summer.

Drug improves survival of colorectal cancer patients, trial results show
An investigational drug called regorafenib slowed the progression of tumors and lengthened the lives of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, an international phase III clinical trial found.

Drug helps maintain platelet inhibition and anti-clotting levels prior to cardiac surgery
Patients who discontinued use of an antiplatelet agent such as clopidogrel prior to undergoing cardiac surgery to lower their bleeding risk and received intravenously the platelet inhibitor cangrelor achieved a higher rate of maintenance of platelet inhibition, compared to patients who received placebo, according to a study in the Jan.

'The Social Network': Charles Dickens wrote the script
Just in time for the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens' birth on Feb.

Scripps-led study in JAMA shows new drug helps 'bridge' stent patients to cardiac surgery
New findings from a research study led by Dr. Eric J.

Muscle relaxants and neuromodulators for managing RA pain: Many options, but no clear successes
Pain management is a high priority for patients with rheumatoid arthritis, so three researchers in Australia analyzed existing study data to see whether two different classes of drugs can help.

University of Minnesota biologists replicate key evolutionary step
More than 500 million years ago, single-celled organisms on the Earth's surface began forming multicellular clusters that ultimately became plants and animals.

'Exergames' may provide cognitive benefit for older adults
Virtual reality-enhanced exercise, or

Do consumers prefer to pay $29 for 70 items or get 70 items for $29?
Consumers can have vastly different reactions to the same package deal, depending on the order the price and quantity are listed, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Middle-aged men with upper-normal blood pressure at risk for AF
Healthy, middle-aged men with upper-normal blood pressure were at increased risk for atrial fibrillation later in life.
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