Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 15, 2012
Study posits a theory of moral behavior
Why do some people behave morally while others do not?

Complexities in caregiving at the end of life
Faced with the inevitability of death, we all wish for good caregiving during the final stage of our lives.

Female cancer survivors have 'worse health behaviors' than women with no cancer history
A recent study conducted by researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., has found that female cancer survivors receiving screening mammography have

Plasmas torn apart
Using high-speed cameras to look at jets of plasma in the lab, Caltech researchers have made a discovery that may be important in understanding phenomena like solar flares and in developing nuclear fusion as a future energy source.

Tiny chameleons discovered in Madagascar
Four new species of miniaturized lizards have been identified in Madagascar.

In new mass-production technique, robotic insects spring to life
A new technique inspired by elegant pop-up books and origami will soon allow clones of robotic insects to be mass-produced by the sheet.

Children may have highest exposure to titanium dioxide nanoparticles
Children may be receiving the highest exposure to nanoparticles of titanium dioxide in candy, which they eat in amounts much larger than adults, according to a new study.

Contributions to diagnosis, treatment of tropical diseases recognized
Biochemist Pablo Sobrado of Virginia Tech has been awarded Costa Rica's 2011 National Technology Prize for

Conference to develop ecologically-based conservation strategies for a future of global change
Ecosystems are shifting under pressure from human activities, invasive species, and a changing climate, presenting us with hard philosophical and practical choices on conservation strategy.

Black hole came from a shredded galaxy
Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have found a cluster of young, blue stars encircling the first intermediate-mass black hole ever discovered.

Oncolytic virus extends survival in medulloblastoma model
A new study shows that a strain of measles virus engineered to kill cancer cells can prolong survival in a model of medulloblastoma that is disseminated in the fluid around the brain.

Lava formations in western US linked to rip in giant slab of Earth
Like a stream of air shooting out of an airplane's broken window to relieve cabin pressure, scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego say lava formations in eastern Oregon are the result of an outpouring of magma forced out of a breach in a massive slab of Earth.

Should low molecular weight heparin be used in cancer treatment?
In an editorial published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from McMaster University and the University at Buffalo suggest conclusive answers to key questions on the benefits of low molecular weight heparin for cancer patients remain elusive - despite promising results from large studies.

Drinking alcohol shrinks critical brain regions in genetically vulnerable mice
Brain scans of two strains of mice imbibing significant quantities of alcohol reveal serious shrinkage in some brain regions - but only in mice lacking a particular type of receptor for dopamine, the brain's

Prions play powerful role in the survival and evolution of wild yeast strains
Whitehead Institute scientists have tested nearly 700 wild yeast strains isolated from diverse environments for the presence of known and unknown prion elements, finding them in one third of all strains.

New molecule discovered in fight against allergy
Scientists at the University of Nottingham have discovered a new molecule that could offer the hope of new treatments for people allergic to the house dust mite.

Novel tuberculosis research technology published in JoVE
According to the World Health Organization, one-third of the world's population is currently infected with tuberculosis bacteria.

JCEDM special issue on innovations in CEDM now online
Part one of the two-part special issue of the Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making, featuring articles on cutting edge CEDM-related research and practice, is available online.

AAAS-SFU research: Vancouver, unique space for innovation
A new study co-authored by SFU communication professor Adam Holbrook says national, provincial and local economic development policy makers need to pay closer attention to Vancouver's uniqueness as a space for economic innovation.

Many babies born to immigrants are being labeled too small incorrectly
Researchers led by Dr. Joel Ray, have developed the first

Parent-training intervention curbs pediatric obesity rates, study shows
A UCLA study has found that a new parent-training program is effective in reducing the risk of low-income, preschool-age Latino children being overweight.

Wayne State-licensed technology receives grant from the Foundation Fighting Blindness
Technology to restore vision through the use of a component of green algae --- developed by a Wayne State University professor and scientific director of the Ligon Research Center of Vision at the Kresge Eye Institute -- has attracted additional funding for therapy development.

APEX turns its eye to dark clouds in Taurus
A new image from the APEX (Atacama Pathfinder Experiment) telescope in Chile shows a sinuous filament of cosmic dust more than ten light-years long.

New miniature grasshopper-like insect is first member of its family from Belize
Scientists at the University of Illinois, US have discovered a new species of tiny, grasshopper-like insect in the tropical rainforests of the Toledo District in southern Belize.

Low-carbon technologies 'no quick-fix', say researchers
A drastic switch to low carbon-emitting technologies, such as wind and hydroelectric power, may not yield a reduction in global warming until the latter part of this century, research published today suggests.

Astronomers watch delayed broadcast of a rare celestial eruption
Eta Carinae, one of the most massive stars in our Milky Way galaxy, unexpectedly increased in brightness in the 19th century.

Psychiatric diagnoses: Why no one is satisfied
As the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is revised for the first time since 1994, controversy about psychiatric diagnosis is reaching a fever pitch.

Peripheral artery disease undertreated, understudied in women
Peripheral artery disease, or PAD, can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke, yet is often unrecognized and untreated in women.

X-ray microscopy seen as next wave in structural biology research
Researchers will explore how X-ray imaging can surpass X-ray crystallography for gathering detailed structural and functional information.

Susan M. Gasser to receive the 2012 FEBS/EMBO Women in Science Award
The European Molecular Biology Organization and the Federation of European Biochemical Societies announce Susan Gasser, director of the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research in Basel, Switzerland, as the winner of the 2012 FEBS/EMBO Women in Science Award.

Study shows that urinary mercury is not correlated with autism
Results suggest that differences in mercury urinary excretion are unlikely to play a direct causal role in autism development, researchers say.

Out of Africa? Data fail to support language origin in Africa
Last year, a report claiming to support the idea that the origin of language can be traced to West Africa appeared in Science.

Dust from industrial-scale processing of nanomaterials carries high explosion risk
With expanded production of nanomaterials fast approaching, scientists are reporting indications that dust generated during processing may explode more easily than dust from other common dust explosion hazards.

Mayo Clinic: Hospitalization of US underage drinkers common, costs $755 million a year
Hospitalization for underage drinking is common in the United States, and it comes with a price tag -- the estimated total cost for these hospitalizations is about $755 million per year, a Mayo Clinic study has found.

Promising early results with therapeutic cancer vaccines
Therapeutic cancer vaccines, which stimulate the body's immune system to target and destroy cancer cells, are being used in combination with conventional chemotherapy with growing success, as described in several illuminating articles in Cancer Biotherapy and Radiopharmaceuticals, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

Research highlights urgent need to tackle low number of organ donors from BME communities
There is an urgent need to increase the number of organ donors from black and minority ethnic groups in countries with a strong tradition of immigration, such as the UK, US, Canada and the Netherlands, in order to tackle inequalities in access and waiting times.

UCLA scientists report link between traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder
UCLA scientists provide the first evidence of a link between a traumatic brain injury and increased susceptibility to post-traumatic stress disorder.

University of Alberta researcher to announce 'signifcant step' towards Hep C vaccine
A University of Alberta researcher and Canada Excellence Research Chair in Virology has made the discovery of a vaccine that will potentially help combat hepatitis C.

Springer to publish open access journal with Korea Concrete Institute
Beginning in 2012, Springer and the Korea Concrete Institute will partner to publish the International Journal of Concrete Structures and Materials.

Nationwide radium testing of groundwater shows most susceptible regions: Central US and East Coast
Groundwater in aquifers on the East Coast and in the Central US has the highest risk of contamination from radium, a naturally occurring radioactive element and known carcinogen.

Stem cell study in mice offers hope for treating heart attack patients
A UCSF stem cell study conducted in mice suggests a novel strategy for treating damaged cardiac tissue in patients following a heart attack.

Mutations in gigantic gene responsible for common heart muscle disease
Mutations in TTN -- the largest gene in the human genome -- cause idiopathic (unknown cause) dilated cardiomyopathy, a common form of heart failure, according to a study by Brigham and Women's Hospital researchers.

Neighborhood bar density linked to intimate partner violence-related visits to emergency department
Intimate partner violence (IPV) has been linked to heavy drinking, and alcohol outlet density to violence.

Genetic mutation implicated in 'broken' heart
Researchers have found that mutations in a gene called TTN account for 18 percent of sporadic and 25 percent of familial cases of dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart becomes weakened and enlarged and cannot properly pump blood.

Improved emergency treatment for prolonged seizures
When a person is experiencing a prolonged convulsive seizure, quick medical intervention is critical.

Pioneers of molecular research take 2012 Vilcek Prizes in Biomedical Science
The Vilcek Foundation is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2012 Vilcek Prizes in Biomedical Science.

Salk researchers find new drug target for lung cancer
Drugs targeting an enzyme involved in inflammation might offer a new avenue for treating certain lung cancers, according to a new study by scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

Contraceptive preferences among young Latinos related to sexual decision-making
Half of the young adult Latino men and women responding to a survey in rural Oregon acknowledge not using regular effective contraception - despite expressing a desire to avoid pregnancy, according to a new Oregon State University study.

In the mouth, smoking zaps healthy bacteria, welcomes pathogens
According to a new study, smoking causes the body to turn against its own helpful bacteria, leaving smokers more vulnerable to disease.

New 'soft' motor made from artificial muscles
The electrostatic motor, used more than 200 years ago by Benjamin Franklin to rotisserie a turkey, is making a comeback in a promising new design for motors that is light, soft, and operates without external electronic controllers.

Integrating society with climate science, stabilizing carbon dioxide levels
Researchers will discuss innovative ways to make climate research more approachable and understandable for society at a Friday AAAS symposium.

Virtual reality supports planning by architects
KIT spin-off makes planned living space a real experience / virtual reality terminal for application in the field of architecture.

Smoking-cessation aide varenicline also makes drinking less enjoyable
A new study has examined how smoking-cessation aide varenicline may reduce drinking.

Mapping out the future of GPS technology
Ditching satellites and complex, powerful computers and opting for camera technology inspired by small mammals may be the future of navigation systems.

New method makes it easier to treat prostate and pancreatic cancer
Laser light in combination with certain drugs - known as photodynamic therapy - can destroy cancer tumors, but is today used mostly to cure skin cancer.

Hubble finds relic of a shredded galaxy
Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have found a cluster of young blue stars surrounding a mid-sized black hole called HLX-1.

Using online patient communities and new trial approaches to optimize clinical research
Dr. Howard West, medical director of the Thoracic Oncology Program at the Swedish Cancer Institute in Seattle, and Dr.

Oral nutritional interventions improve nutritional intake and QOL in malnourished cancer patients
Oral nutritional interventions help increase nutritional intake and improve some aspects of quality of life in malnourished cancer patients or those who are at nutritional risk, but do not effect mortality, according to a study published Feb.

$8.5 million research initiative will study best approaches for quantum memories
The US Air Force Office of Scientific Research has awarded $8.5 million to a consortium of seven US universities that will work together to determine the best approach for generating quantum memories based on interaction between light and matter.

Hot invention cools down environment
The current global energy crisis means that sustainability now supplants necessity as the mother of all invention.

UCI leads multicampus collaboration to reward use of designated drivers
California reported the largest decline in drunk-driving deaths of any state in the nation in 2010, according to recent statistics, and a $232,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety -- through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration -- to UC Irvine's Health Education Center is helping to keep the trend on track.

New research to help eliminate most common food poisoning bug
Eliminating the most common cause of food poisoning from the food chain is the aim of new research funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the world-leading UK-based poultry breeding company Aviagen.

American Society of Hematology statement on critical methotrexate drug shortage
Members of the American Society of Hematology are on the front lines of dealing with the country's severe shortage of methotrexate, a drug critical in the treatment of children with acute lymphocytic leukemia.

Researchers study mitochondrial function, potential new therapeutic target for Alzheimer's disease
Researchers at Rush University Medical Center are conducting an early phase clinical trial of a novel drug therapy for patients with dementia due to Alzheimer's disease.

Study explains high platelets in ovarian cancer patients; survival reduced
Highly elevated platelet levels fuel tumor growth and reduce the survival of ovarian cancer patients, an international team of researchers led by scientists at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer center reports in the New England Journal of Medicine.

New regulations fail to make TV food adverts healthier for children
Despite new regulations restricting UK TV advertisements for food, children are still exposed to the same level of advertising for junk foods which are high in fat, salt and sugar, researchers have found.

Virtual ghost imaging: New technique enables imaging even through highly adverse conditions
By using some of light's

Working together to bounce back from disaster
While examining two of the world's largest environmental crises in recent history - the 2011 Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear emergency and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the US's Gulf of Mexico - a group of experts will discuss how communities can better bounce back from disasters.

'Handbook of Data Intensive Computing' evaluates the state-of-the-art in new field
'The Handbook of Data Intensive Computing' is a collection of essays featuring contributions from world experts in the field of data intensive computing from academia, research laboratories and private industry.

Goat kids can develop accents
The ability to change vocal sounds and develop an accent is potentially far more widespread in mammals than previously believed, according to new research on goats from Queen Mary, University of London.

Finnish research organisation VTT combines mobile phone technology and microscopy
VTT Technical Research Center of Finland, the leading multi-technological applied research organization in Northern Europe, has developed an optical accessory that turns an ordinary camera phone into a high-resolution microscope.

'First-in-human' drug for malignant glioma available in experimental trial
The UC Cancer Institute is one of three centers internationally approved to test an experimental drug's safety and pharmacokinetics and also assess the clinical benefit against recurrent malignant glioma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.

US Energy Department grants $1.87 million for plant fuel project
The US Department of Energy has granted more than $1.8 million to a researcher looking at tobacco as a potential fuel source.

Book examines state-owned oil firms, prices and pollution
State-owned oil companies dominate the world's oil supplies, and politicians often cannot resist getting involved.

College students, fish show surprising similarities in numerical approximation
Fish are as good at evaluating numerical ratios as college students are, says a study published in the Feb.

Climate change threatens tropical birds
Climate change spells trouble for many tropical birds - especially those living in mountains, coastal forests and relatively small areas - and the damage will be compounded by other threats like habitat loss, disease and competition among species.

Taxpayers give back for cancer: Jefferson researcher awarded 'Refunds for Research' grant
Takemi Tanaka, Ph.D., of Thomas Jefferson University's School of Pharmacy and the Kimmel Cancer Center, received a $50,000 grant toward her breast cancer research, as part of the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition's

Autism affects motor skills, study indicates
Children with autism often have problems developing motor skills, such as running, throwing a ball or even learning how to write.

The brain's caudate nucleus and frontal cortex are less active in people who drink more
Alcohol abuse and dependence are common problems in the United States due to a number of factors, two of which may be social drinking by college students and young adults, and risk taking that may lead to heavier drinking later in life.

Autoinjectors offer way to treat prolonged seizures
Drug delivery into muscle using an autoinjector, akin to the EpiPen used to treat serious allergic reactions, is faster and may be a more effective way to stop status epilepticus, a prolonged seizure lasting longer than five minutes, according to a study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

Identifying poverty levels requires accurate measurements
When food prices spiked in 2008, the number of households that moved into poverty was overestimated by about 60 percent, according to a recent University of Illinois study.

1st International EarthCache Mega Event
The first international gathering of EarthCache enthusiasts will take place in New Gloucester, Maine, USA, on Sunday, Sept.

Extreme summer temperatures occur more frequently
Extreme summer temperatures are already occurring more frequently in the United States, and will become normal by mid-century if the world continues on a business as usual schedule of emitting greenhouse gases.

Operational research seeks benefit for stroke victims
Researchers from the University of Exeter, Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, are working with clinicians from the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to reduce the time it takes from the start of a stroke to the administration of vital clot-busting drug treatment.

Computer sleuthing helps unravel RNA's role in cellular function
Computer engineers may have just provided the medical community a new way of figuring out exactly how one of the three building blocks of life forms and functions.

Stretching helices help keep muscles together
Scientists at EMBL Hamburg have discovered that the elastic part of myomesin, a protein that links muscle filaments, can stretch to two and a half times its original length, unfolding in a way that was hitherto unknown.

DFG imposes sanctions for scientific misconduct
Joint committee agrees on measures against two researchers.

Time of year important in projections of climate change effects on ecosystems
Based on more than 25 years of data from the National Science Foundation Konza Prairie Long-Term Ecological Research site in Kansas -- one of 26 such NSF LTER sites across the globe -- ecologists looked at how droughts and heat waves affect grass growth during different months of the year.

Strict parental rules about drinking can curb adolescent impulses to drink
Frequent drinking can establish changes in the processing of alcohol cues that can, in turn, facilitate renewed drinking unless the resulting impulse to drink is inhibited.

Research probing a quantum phase transition wins the 2011 AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize, supported by Affymetrix
A method to observe individual atoms in an ultra-cold gas as they transitioned from one quantum state to another won the 2011 Newcomb Cleveland Prize of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Diabetes may start in the intestines, research suggests
Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have made a surprising discovery about the origin of diabetes.

Smoking cessation aide shows promise as alcoholism treatment
A medication commonly used to help people stop smoking may have an unanticipated positive side effect for an entirely different vice: drinking alcohol.

Owning a dog encourages exercise in pregnant women
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have found that women who own dogs are more physically active during pregnancy than those who don't.

Toyota recalls made no dent on their brand
A study from North Carolina State University shows that Toyota's safety-related recalls that began in 2009 made little to no impact on how consumers perceived the brand.

Tool assessing how community health centers deliver 'medical home' care may be flawed
The tool the government uses to measure how community health centers deliver

Report assesses management contracts' impact on NNSA national security laboratories
Scientists and engineers at the National Nuclear Security Administration's three national security laboratories appear committed to their work and core mission of maintaining the country's nuclear weapons stockpile, but according to a new National Research Council report, a

Canadian Isotope Project enters final stretch
A research project exploring the potential for making medical isotopes with X-rays from a particle accelerator instead of a nuclear reactor is about to move to the large scale.

National trial shows autoinjectors faster, more effective than IV lines in stopping seizures
As part of the first national, randomized clinical trial studying two methods of drug delivery for seizing patients, researchers found that using an auto-injector, similar to an EpiPen, to deliver anticonvulsant medication stops prolonged seizures more quickly and effectively than drug delivery through an IV line.

Tips from the journals of the American Society for Microbiology
The following papers appear in the February 2012 journals of the ASM:

Only the lowest CO2 emitting technologies can avoid a hot end-of-century
Could replacing coal-fired electricity plants with generators fueled by natural gas bring global warming to a halt in this century?

Sloan Research Fellowships awarded to 126 young scholars
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is pleased to announce the selection of 126 outstanding US and Canadian researchers as recipients of Sloan Research Fellowships for 2012.

Astronomers watch instant replay of powerful stellar eruption
Astronomers are watching the astronomical equivalent of an instant replay of a spectacular outburst from the unstable, behemoth double-star system Eta Carinae, which was initially seen on Earth nearly 170 years ago.

Paving the way to Canada's next big industry -- the quantum information frontier
Canada's quantum leaders, including Raymond Laflamme, will be participating at this week's annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, starting with the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Dialogues at UBC Robson Square, this Wednesday, Feb.

How fast you walk and your grip in middle age may predict dementia, stroke risk
Simple tests such as walking speed and hand grip strength may help doctors determine how likely it is a middle-aged person will develop dementia or stroke.

Organic farming improves pollination success in strawberries
Converting conventional farms to organic results in fewer malformed berries.

Sanford-Burnham and Florida Hospital review obesity research progress with Takeda Pharmaceutical
Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute and Florida Hospital researchers recently returned from Japan where they reviewed the progress that has been made at the mid-point of their research partnership with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited.

Boiling breakthrough: Nano-coating doubles rate of heat transfer
The old saw that a watched pot never boils may not apply to pots given an ultra-thin layer of aluminum oxide, which researchers have reported can double the heat transfer from a hot surface to a liquid.

New drugs show promise for preventing 'absence seizures' in children: UBC research
A University of British Columbia-led team has developed a new class of drugs that suppress absence seizures, a symptom of epilepsy most commonly experienced by children.

Green spaces reduce stress levels of jobless, study shows
Stress levels of unemployed people are linked more to their surroundings than their age, gender, disposable income, and degree of deprivation, a study shows.

4 Boston College faculty members named Sloan Research Fellows
Boston College faculty members have received four 2012 Sloan Research Fellowships, awarded annually to scientists and scholars identified as rising stars in their fields.

Live from Newark: TEDxNJIT Simulcast, March 23, 2012 to viewers worldwide
A TEDxNJIT event will take place again on March 23, 2012 in the Jim Wise Theatre on the New Jersey Institute of Technology campus and also via an accompanying live simulcast broadcast available to viewers worldwide.

NASA sees Cyclone Giovanna enter the Mozambique Channel
Cyclone Giovanna crossed over the island of Madagascar leaving flooding and damages in its wake and has now entered the Mozambique Channel.

VIB-BGI Genomics Meeting highlights growing impact of large-scale genomics in life sciences
VIB-BGI Genomics Meeting highlights growing impact of large-scale genomics in life sciences.

Climate change may increase risk of water shortages in hundreds of US counties by 2050
More than one in three counties in the US could face a
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