Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 22, 2012
Geoengineering and global food supply
Carbon dioxide emissions have been increasing over the past decades, causing the Earth to get hotter and hotter.

Sweeping genetic analysis of rare disease yields common mechanism of hypertension
Analyzing all the genes of dozens of people suffering from a rare form of hypertension, Yale University researchers have discovered a new mechanism that regulates the blood pressure of all humans.

Science to help rice growers affected by Japan's tsunami
Under a year since a huge tsunami inundated paddy fields in Japan with salty sludge, scientists are near to developing locally-adapted, salt-tolerant rice.

New study sheds light on evolutionary origin of oxygen-based cellular respiration
Researchers at the RIKEN SPring-8 Center in Harima, Japan have clarified the crystal structure of quinol dependent nitric oxide reductase, a bacterial enzyme that offers clues on the origins of our earliest oxygen-breathing ancestors.

Group settings can diminish expressions of intelligence, especially among women
Research led by scientists at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute found that small-group dynamics -- such as jury deliberations, collective bargaining sessions, and cocktail parties -- can alter the expression of IQ in some susceptible people.

A new class of electron interactions in quantum systems
Physicists at the University of New South Wales have observed a new kind of interaction that can arise between electrons in a single-atom silicon transistor, offering a more complete understanding of the mechanisms that govern electron conduction in nano-structures at the atomic scale.

The price of your soul: How the brain decides whether to 'sell out'
A neuro-imaging study shows that personal values people refuse to disavow, even when offered cash, are processed differently in the brain than those values that are willingly sold.

Saving the snow leopard with stem cells
The survival of the endangered snow leopard is looking promising thanks to Monash University scientists who have, for the first time, produced embryonic stem-like cells from the tissue of an adult leopard.

Gladstone scientists identify genetic mechanism linked to congenital heart disease
Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes have identified a finely tuned mechanism by which fetal heart muscle develops into a healthy and fully formed beating heart -- offering new insight into the genetic causes of congenital heart disease and opening the door to one day developing therapies to fight this chronic and potentially fatal disorder.

Cooling semiconductor by laser light
Researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute have combined two worlds - quantum physics and nano physics, and this has led to the discovery of a new method for laser cooling semiconductor membranes.

Lessons in coral reef survival from deep time
Lessons from tens of millions of years ago are pointing to new ways to save and protect today's coral reefs and their myriad of beautiful and many-hued fishes at a time of huge change in the Earth's systems.

Inflammatory mediator promotes colorectal cancer by stifling protective genes
Chronic inflammation combines with DNA methylation, a process that shuts down cancer-fighting genes, to promote development of colorectal cancer, scientists at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center report today in the advance online publication of the journal Nature Medicine.

DNA motor programmed to navigate a network of tracks
A team of researchers at Kyoto University and the University of Oxford have successfully used DNA building blocks to construct a motor capable of navigating a programmable network of tracks with multiple switches.

Rare kidney disease shows how salt, potassium levels are moderated
Findings in Nature about one form of familial high blood pressure disease offer insights into how sodium and potassium are regulated in the kidney.

Scripps Research scientists provide new understanding of chronic pain
Millions of people worldwide suffer from a type of chronic pain called neuropathic pain, which is triggered by nerve damage.

Plant flavonoid luteolin blocks cell signaling pathways in colon cancer cells
Luteolin is a flavonoid commonly found in fruit and vegetables.

The influence of estrogen on female mood changes
Women are often troubled with cyclical mood changes. Studies have shown a relationship between emotional disorders associated with the menstrual cycle and changes in estrogen level.

Vaccines to boost immunity where it counts, not just near shot site
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have created synthetic nanoparticles that target lymph nodes and greatly boost vaccine responses, said lead author Ashley St.

Advantages of living in the dark: The multiple evolution events of 'blind' cavefish
The blind Mexican cavefish have not only lost their sight but have adapted to perpetual darkness by also losing their pigment and having altered sleep patterns.

Identified a cause of resistance to colon cancer treatment
Spanish scientists point to an acquired mutation during treatment as the causative mechanism of therapeutic failure.

Unprecedented, man-made trends in ocean's acidity
Recent carbon dioxide emissions have pushed the level of seawater acidity far above the range of the natural variability that existed for thousands of years, affecting the calcification rates of shell-forming organism.
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