Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 20, 2012
Rainforest plant combats multi-resistant bacterial strains
Aggressive infections in hospitals are an increasing health problem worldwide.

You can't do the math without the words
A recent study by University of Miami anthropological linguist Caleb Everett shows that the language of the Piraha, an Amazonian tribe, lacks number words and as a result the people have a difficult time performing common quantitative tasks.

Trapped in a ring
A ring-like structure found in a protein complex called

In-house pharmacists can help GPs reduce prescribing errors by up to 50 percent
Medication errors are common in primary care but the number of mistakes could be reduced significantly if GPs introduced an in-house pharmacist-led intervention scheme.

The origin of photosynthesis revealed
A team led by evolutionary biologist and Rutgers University professor Debashish Bhattacharya has shed light on the early events leading to photosynthesis, the result of the sequencing of 70 million base pair nuclear genome of the one-celled alga Cyanophora.

Global permafrost zones in high-resolution images on Google Earth
Thawing permafrost will have far-reaching ramifications for populated areas, infrastructure and ecosystems.

Mn-doped ZnS is unsuitable to act as a dilute magnetic semiconductor
Dilute magnetic semiconductors have recently been a major focus of magnetic semiconductor research.

Penn researcher helps discover and characterize a 300-million-year-old forest
Pompeii-like, a 300-million-year-old tropical forest was preserved in ash when a volcano erupted in what is today northern China.

Embargoed news for Annals of Internal Medicine
Below is information about articles being published in the Feb.

Cedars-Sinai awarded $2.5 million to study potential new drug treatments for Alzheimer's disease
A Cedars-Sinai research scientist has been awarded two national grants totaling more than $2.5 million, including a prestigious Research Project Grant from the National Institutes of Health to study potential treatments for Alzheimer's disease.

Carbon storage project combines innovation and outreach
The Illinois Basin - Decatur Project began its injection, the first million-ton demonstration from an industrial source in the US, in November 2011.

Maize hybrid looks promising for biofuel
Scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have identified a new contender in the bioenergy race: a temperate and tropical maize hybrid.

Home visits for asthma: A win for both patients and payers
Nearly one in 10 children have asthma, according to government statistics, and in low-income parts of Boston, nearly 16 percent of children are affected.

Conservation risk highest off coasts of Canada, Mexico, Peru and New Zealand: UBC research
University of British Columbia researchers have identified conservation

Scientists identify link between size of brain region and conformity
Every generation has its James Dean: The rebel who refuses to follow the path beaten by their peers.

Robotic dinosaurs on the way for next-gen paleontology at Drexel
Researchers at Drexel University are bringing the latest technological advancements in 3-D printing to the study of ancient life.

Fused genes tackle deadly Pierce's disease in grapevines
A research team led by a UC Davis plant scientist has engineered a hybrid gene that enables a plant to recognize and kill the bacteria that cause Pierce's disease, a deadly threat to California's world renowned wine industry.

Taking the Earth's pulse: UBC scientists unveil a new economic and environmental index
A growing world population, mixed with the threat of climate change and mounting financial problems, has prompted University of British Columbia researchers to measure the overall

Chess experts help researchers understand how we see the world
UT Dallas neuroscientists are studying whether an expert chess player's analysis of a board is similar to the attention paid by most people to new or familiar faces.

Alcohol in movies influences young teens' drinking habits
Young teens who watch a lot of movies featuring alcohol are twice as likely to start drinking compared to peers who watch relatively few such films, reveals research published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Blocking telomerase kills cancer cells but provokes resistance, progression
Inhibiting telomerase, an enzyme that rescues malignant cells from destruction by extending the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes, kills tumor cells but also triggers resistance pathways that allow cancer to survive and spread, scientists report in the Feb.

New blood test for early cancer detection developed by Ben-Gurion University researchers
In the latest clinical trial with 200 patients and a control group, the test identified specific cancers in 90 percent of the patients and found other types of cancer, as well.

Researchers find new compound to fight strep throat infection
Researchers have discovered a promising alternative to common antibiotics used to fight the bacteria that causes strep throat.

Weight, height, and experience key to Rugby World Cup success
Rugby teams with the tallest backs, heaviest forwards, and greatest amount of collective experience are likely to be the most successful at World Cup level, reveals research published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

UNC kicks off child welfare 'wicked problems' series of meetings
Dozens of child welfare experts will gather at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Feb.

Guideline: Monitoring spinal cord during surgery may help prevent paralysis
The American Academy of Neurology is issuing an updated guideline that recommends monitoring the spinal cord during spinal surgery and certain chest surgeries to help prevent paralysis, or loss of muscle function, related to the surgeries.

Extending smoking ban outside bars could help curb 'social smoking'
Extending the smoking ban outside bars could help curb

Tongue drive system goes inside the mouth to improve performance and user comfort
The Tongue Drive System is getting less conspicuous and more capable.

Over-reactive parenting linked to negative emotions and problem behavior in toddlers
Researchers have found that parents of young children who anger easily and overreact are more likely to have toddlers who act out and become upset easily.

Babies' colic linked to mothers' migraines
A study of mothers and their young babies by neurologists at the University of California, San Francisco has shown that mothers who suffer migraine headaches are more than twice as likely to have babies with colic than mothers without a history of migraines.

1 in 10 children face elevated risk of abuse, future PTSD, due to gender nonconformity
Children in the US whose activity choices, interests, and pretend play before age 11 fall outside those typically expressed by their biological sex face increased risk of being physically, psychologically, and sexually abused, and of suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder by early adulthood.

Research on applying enhanced virtuality to language learning
Merging the real world with its mirror in a virtual world so that students can be immersed in a hybrid learning environment that permits improved language teaching: that is the objective of scientists at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid who have developed the first prototype that demonstrates how a platform of this type works.

Fight against neglected global diseases moves another step forward through a partnership between CDRD and NGDI-UBC
One year after The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) and the Neglected Global Diseases Initiative at the University of British Columbia (NGDI-UBC) came together to develop interventions for neglected global diseases, a project to combine existing approved drugs to better treat Tuberculosis (TB) has emerged as the collaboration's leading prospect.

Glacial carbon may hold record of environmental change
New clues as to how the Earth's remote ecosystems have been influenced by the Industrial Revolution are frozen in glaciers, according to a paper in the March issue of Nature Geoscience.

Traitorous immune cells promote sudden ovarian cancer progression
In a new mouse model that mimics the tumor microenvironment of ovarian cancer, Wistar scientists demonstrate that ovarian tumors don't necessarily break

Mapping of protein inhibitors facilitates development of tailor-made anticancer agents
A team of researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden has generated a map over the effects of small drug-like molecules on PARP1 and other similar proteins in the body.

UK takes the lead in redefining the kilogram
New research, published by the National Physical Laboratory, takes a significant step towards changing the international definition of the kilogram - which is currently based on a lump of platinum-iridium kept in Paris.

Pyramax receives positive opinion from the EMA
Pyramax, a fixed-dose combination of pyronaridine and artesunate, becomes the first antimalarial to be granted a positive scientific opinion from the European Medicines Agency under Article 58.

Quality of life of obese dogs improves when they lose weight
Researchers at the University of Liverpool have found that overweight dogs that lose weight have an improved quality of life compared to those that don't.

Referees feel stress during matches regardless of their physical condition
All referees feel stress on match days. However, contrary to what you might believe, a joint study by the Catholic University of Brasilia, A Coruna University and James Cook University in Australia state that the level of stress is not linked to the physical condition of these referees, but to their nervous system.

High definition polarization vision discovered in cuttlefish
Cuttlefish have the most acute polarization vision yet found in any animal, researchers at the University of Bristol have discovered by showing them movies on a modified LCD computer screen to test their eyesight.

Rutgers scientists selected for international research initiative on evolution of insects
Two researchers from Rutgers University -- one from the Newark campus, the other from New Brunswick -- are among an international team of more than 50 scientists embarking on a massive project to unravel the secrets of the evolutionary history of insects.

Pharmacist-led, information technology-based intervention reduces prescribing errors and is cheap and easy to implement
New research published Online First by the Lancet shows that a pharmacist-led, information technology-based intervention reduces errors in prescribing of drugs in primary care and is cheap and easy to implement, costing GBP75 for each error avoided at six months.

Benefits of hepatitis C treatment outweigh costs for patients with advanced disease
A towering $60,000 bill, a year of fierce, flu-like symptoms and a running risk of depression are among the possible costs of two new hepatitis C treatments.

Mother's migraine may increase baby's risk of colic
New research suggests that mothers who experience migraine may be more likely to have a baby with colic than mothers without a history of migraine.

Monell scientist receives AchemS Ajinomoto Award for Young Investigators in Gustation
Molecular biologist Ichiro Matsumoto, Ph.D., of the Monell Center, is the recipient of the 2012 Ajinomoto Award for Young Investigators in Gustation, awarded annually by the Association for Chemoreception Sciences to an outstanding junior scientist who is an emerging leader in the field of gustation.

2012 Clay Research Fellows
Ivan Corwin and Jack Thorne have been appointed 2012 Clay Research Fellows.

Does history repeat? Using the past to improve ecological forecasting
To better predict the future, Jack Williams is looking to the past.

Telomere failure, telomerase activation drive prostate cancer progression
Genomic instability caused by an erosion of the protective caps on chromosomes, followed by activation of an enzyme that reinforces those caps, allows malignant cells to evade destruction and acquire more deadly characteristics, researchers report in an online now article at the journal Cell.

University of Cincinnati research: Day labor halls can be a nightmare of rules for workers
University of Cincinnati research examines day labor halls in the current economy.

UC geographers present research on climate change, day laborers and more at national conference
Faculty and graduate students from UC's geography program will present research at the Association of American Geographers meeting Feb.

Scientists find a notable improvement in quality of life following successful weight loss in obese dogs
Owners of obese dogs that are successful in losing weight notice significant improvement in their dogs' health-related quality of life, a collaborative team of researchers has shown. 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