Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 27, 2012
What really happened prior to 'Snowball Earth'?
In a study published in the journal Geology, Dr. Peter Swart if the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science suggests that the large changes in the carbon isotopic composition of carbonates which occurred prior to the major climatic event more than 500 million years ago, known as

Study offers new information for flu fight
Influenza virus can rapidly evolve from one form to another, complicating the effectiveness of vaccines and anti-viral drugs used to treat it.

Space Weather Center to add world's first 'ensemble forecasting' capability
Goddard's Space Weather Laboratory recently received support under NASA's Space Technology Program Game Changing Program to implement

Bedwetting can be due to undiagnosed constipation, research shows
Bedwetting isn't always due to problems with the bladder. Constipation is often the culprit; and if it isn't diagnosed, children and their parents must endure an unnecessarily long, costly and difficult quest to cure nighttime wetting.

SUMO-snipping protein plays crucial role in T and B cell development
When SUMO grips STAT5, a protein that activates genes, it blocks the healthy embryonic development of immune B cells and T cells unless its nemesis breaks the hold, a research team led by scientists at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center reports today in Molecular Cell.

Climate scientists talk hurricanes, drought, with capitol staffers over lunch
Climate change has become a divisive topic in America. To shift the focus back on science, scientists from Columbia University are briefing members of Congress and their staff during the second annual Climate Science Day on Capitol Hill.

Republicans and democrats less divided than commonly thought
Republicans and Democrats are less divided in their attitudes than popularly believed, according to new research.

NASA sees a weakening Cyclone Funso's 'closed eye'
Powerful Cyclone Funso's eye has been clear in NASA satellite imagery over the last several days until NASA's Aqua satellite noticed it had

Hope for those with a depressive disposition
Good news for the 13 percent of the population with depressive personality traits: their negative outlook does not have to be permanent.

OHSU discovery may lead to new treatment for Rett Syndrome
Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University have discovered that a molecule critical to the development and plasticity of nerve cells - brain-derived neurotrophic factor -- is severely lacking in brainstem neurons in mutations leading to Rett syndrome, a neurological developmental disorder.

Prejudices? Quite normal!
Psychologists of Jena University have been working on a prevention program for children, designed to reduce prejudice and to encourage tolerance for others.

The pupils are the windows to the mind
The eyes are the window into the soul -- or at least the mind, according to a new paper published in Perspectives on Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Need muscle for a tough spot? Turn to fat stem cells, UC San Diego researchers say
Stem cells derived from fat have a surprising trick up their sleeves: Encouraged to develop on a stiff surface, they undergo a remarkable transformation toward becoming mature muscle cells.

New center developing computational bioresearch tool
University of Chicago scientists are working on a technique that might lead to a new, dramatically simpler way to predict molecular motion inside a cell.

NASA eyes cyclone Iggy's threat to western Australia
NASA satellites are providing valuable data to forecasters as Tropical Cyclone Iggy nears Western Australia.

Early cystic fibrosis lung disease detected by bronchoalveolar lavage and lung clearance index
The lung clearance index is a sensitive noninvasive marker of early lung disease in young children with cystic fibrosis, according to a new study from Australian researchers.

ONline-learning must synch or sink, researcher says
According to one University of Alberta researcher, people looking to further their education through e-learning may want to look carefully at the conditions under which online coursework will give them the biggest academic return on their investment.

European Research Council supports search for regulators of tissue damage
The European Research Council has awarded Miguel Soares and his team at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência in Portugal an Advanced Grant of just over 2,2 million euros, to investigate the capacity that an infected individual has to limit the extent of tissue damage caused by different pathogens.

Scientists reveal how cholera bacterium gains a foothold in the gut
A team of biologists at the University of York has made an important advance in our understanding of the way cholera attacks the body.

Assessment of COPD exacerbation severity with the COPD Assessment Test
Exacerbation severity in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can be reliably assessed with the COPD Assessment Test, according to a new study from the UK.

The amygdala and fear are not the same thing
In a 2007 episode of the television show Boston Legal, a character claimed to have figured out that a cop was racist because his amygdala activated - displaying fear, when they showed him pictures of black people.

Willpower and desires: Turning up the volume on what you want most
Trying to resist that late-night tweet or checking your work email again?

Brainiac babies
A Northwestern University study has found that the evidence for intuitive physics occurs in infants as young as two months - the earliest age at which testing can occur.

Dancing with wolves -- prestigious award goes to a scientist at the Vetmeduni Vienna
The American Psychological Association has recognized Friederike Range of the Messerli Research Institute at the Vetmeduni Vienna with its 2012 Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology.

Eureka! Kitchen gadget inspires scientist to make more effective plastic electronics
A kitchen gadget that vacuum seals food in plastic inspired a Rutgers physicist to improve the performance of organic transistors for potential use in video displays.

Mind over matter: Patients' perceptions of illness make a difference
Whenever we fall ill, there are many different factors that come together to influence the course of our illness.

UT researchers' innovation addresses major challenge of drug delivery
A new physical form of proteins developed by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin could drastically improve treatments for cancer and other diseases, as well as overcome some of the largest challenges in therapeutics: Delivering drugs to patients safely, easily and more effectively.

MSU technology spin-out company to market portable biohazard detection
A new company formed around Michigan State University nanotechnology promises to move speedy detection of deadly pathogens and toxins from the laboratory directly to the field.

Immunological mechanisms of oncolytic adenoviral therapy
The use of oncolytic adenovirus provides a novel attractive strategy for cancer therapy, but the mechanisms underlying the therapeutic effects are complicated and largely unknown.

Head & neck cancer in transplant patients: For better or worse?
Transplant patients who develop head and neck cancer are more likely to be non-smokers and non-drinkers, and less likely than their non-transplant counterparts to survive past one year of diagnosis, according to a new study from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

Making memories last
Memories in our brains are maintained by connections between neurons called

Capturing an octopus-eye view of the Great Barrier Reef
A specialized camera that allows scientists to see as reef-dwelling animals do has been built by a team of researchers at the University of Bristol.

Body location plays part in scratching pleasure
New research from Gil Yosipovitch, M.D., Ph.D., professor of dermatology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and a world-renowned itch expert, shows that how good scratching an itch feels is related to the itch's location.

Research on vitamins could lead to the design of novel drugs to combat malaria
New research by scientists at the University of Southampton could lead to the design of more effective drugs to combat malaria.

The secret life of proteins
Researchers have identified a new and unusual role for a key player in the human immune system.

Are we bad at forecasting our emotions? It depends on how you measure accuracy
How will you feel if you fail that test? Awful, really awful, you say.

BWH researchers develop new drug release mechanism utilizing 3-D superhydrophobic materials
According to a recent study, there is a new mechanism of drug release using 3-D superhydrophobic materials that utilizes air as a removable barrier to control the rate at which drug is released.

Discovery of new vaccine approach for treatment of cancer
Scientists in Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, have developed a new vaccine to treat cancer at the pre-clinical level.

AGU announces 2012 Fellows
The American Geophysical Union recently announced its 2012 class of Fellows.

SwRI-led RAD measures radiation from solar storm
The largest solar particle event since 2005 hit the Earth, Mars and the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft traveling in-between, allowing the onboard Radiation Assessment Detector to measure the radiation a human astronaut could be exposed to en route to the Red Planet.

Trial by fire: A landscape-scale experiment in restoring Ozark glades
A giant experiment is under way at the Tyson Research Center, Washington University in St.

80 percent of 'irreplaceable' habitats in Andes unprotected
Hundreds of rare, endemic species in the Central Andes remain unprotected and are increasingly under threat from development and climate change, according to a Duke University-led international study.

Georgia Bio honors biotech company that enables stroke care
REACH Health Inc., a six-year-old company that packaged the need for rapid stroke care with the emerging capabilities of the Internet to provide that care remotely, received a 2012 Georgia Bio Community Award Jan.

SFU scientists to wow non-scientists at AAAS
Three Simon Fraser University researchers known for generating passion about science -- Nancy Forde, Sophie Lavieri and Sarah Johnson -- will be talking up science to non-scientists at the 2012 AAAS. 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