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Science News | Science Current Events | Brightsurf | February 21, 2012


Cleveland Clinic physician receives prominent award for outstanding contributions to MS research
Richard Ransohoff, M.D., a Cleveland Clinic physician and a researcher in the Neurosciences Department of Cleveland Clinic's Lerner Research Institute, has been awarded the 2012 John Dystel Prize for Multiple Sclerosis Research.
Rare fungus kills endangered rattlesnakes in southern Illinois
A small population of rattlesnakes that already is in decline in southern Illinois faces a new and unexpected threat in the form of a fungus rarely seen in the wild, researchers report.
Variation in brain development seen in infants with autism
Patterns of brain development in the first two years of life are distinct in children who are later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), according to researchers in a network funded by the National Institutes of Health.
NASA spacecraft reveals recent geological activity on the moon
New images from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft show the moon's crust is being stretched, forming minute valleys in a few small areas on the lunar surface.
Mathematics confirm the efficiency of horreos with slots
Horreos, a type of Galician dry-store structure, with slotted floors regulate temperature better in sunny weather conditions, which helps preserve the corn stored there.
Drexel engineering research brings seven adult-sized humanoid robots together for first time in US
Seven adult-sized humanoid robots took the stage together at Drexel University in a first-of-its-kind assembly of robotic technology.
West coast log, lumber exports increased over forty percent in 2011
Log and lumber exports from Washington, Oregon, northern California, and Alaska increased 42 percent in 2011 compared to 2010, totaling 1,992 and 1,015 million board feet according to the US Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station.
Research reveals water management and climate change in ancient Maya city
The findings inside a cave and a key cultural and religious center for the ancient Maya will be presented at the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers in New York.
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.
Drexel engineers develop cement with 97 percent smaller CO2 and energy footprint
Materials engineers at Drexel University have found a way to improve on ordinary Portland Cement, the glue that's bonded much of the world's construction since the late 1800s.
MIT research: A new twist on nanowires
Nanowires -- microscopic fibers that can be
Are there biosocial origins for antisocial behavior?
An assistant professor at Sam Houston State University, College of Criminal Justice is working to unlock the mysteries surrounding the role that genetics and environmental influences play on criminal and antisocial behavior.
Software helps improve software
The earlier a problem is detected, the easier it can be solved.
Recession and high co-pays tied to fewer colonoscopy screenings among people with health insurance
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers found that during the recent US recession, continuously insured Americans underwent fewer screening colonoscopies.
VTT searches for novel biomarkers and targets for preventing or treating Type 2 diabetes
VTT is participating in two new European projects focusing on Type 2 diabetes.
Stronger intestinal barrier may prevent cancer in the rest of the body, new study suggests
A leaky gut may be the root of some cancers forming in the rest of the body, a new study published online Feb.
Create effective new global environmental agency, ministers urged
With environmental threats on the rise and more than 120 countries now in favor of reforming international environmental governance, conditions are right to create a new, specialized global environmental agency, says one of the world's leading scientists.
'Stealth' properties of cancer-causing genetic mutations identified
Scientists have discovered that cancer-causing genetic mutations have better-disguised electronic signatures than other mutations -- a trait which could help them fly under the radar of the body's defense mechanisms.
EARTH: Gold, lead and death in Nigeria
Throughout the Zamfara region in northwestern Nigeria, children are dying at an alarming rate.
Ant colonies remember rivals' odor and compete like sports fans
A new study led by the University of Melbourne has shown that weaver ants share a collective memory for the odor of ants in rival nests, and use the information to identify them and compete, similar to how sports fans know each other instantly by their unique colors.
Sandia seeks better neural control of prosthetics for amputees
Sandia National Laboratories researchers, using off-the-shelf equipment in a chemistry lab, have been working on ways to improve amputees' control over prosthetics with direct help from their own nervous systems.
MRSA in livestock acquired drug resistance on the farm, now infects humans
Researchers have discovered that a strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria that humans contract from livestock was originally a human strain, but it developed resistance to antibiotics once it was picked up by farm animals.
CMU neuroscientists identify how the brain works to select what we (want to) see
If you are looking for a particular object -- say a yellow pencil -- on a cluttered desk, how does your brain work to visually locate it?
Zapping mosquito bites
NPL worked with Ecobrands Ltd. to characterize their Zap-It! product, which uses the tiny electric current generated by piezoelectric material to relieve the pain and itching caused by insect bites -- such as those from mosquitoes.
Computer-assisted tools alert pediatricians to obese patients
Electronic health records and embedded tools can alert and direct pediatricians so they can better manage the weight of children and teenagers, according to a new Kaiser Permanente study published online in the Journal of Pediatrics.
Does depression contribute to the aging process?
Stress has numerous detrimental effects on the human body. Many of these effects are acutely felt by the sufferer, but many more go
Superbugs from space offer new source of power
Scientists at Newcastle University have created a
Plant toughness: Key to cracking biofuels?
Along with photosynthesis, the plant cell wall is one of the features that most set plants apart from animals.
University of Granada researchers collaborate in a book on the scientific principles of cooking
The researchers Julia Maldonado-Valderrama and María Jose Galvez Ruiz, at the University of Granada Department of Applied Physics, participated in the completion of the chapter devoted to milk foam, where the technique and ingredients employed to get the perfect foam in a cappuccino are described.
UK road users are jamming GPS signals, experts confirm
First examples of illegal GPS jammers detected in use in the UK.
Mount Sinai first to use visually guided catheter ablation system to treat AFib patient
For the first time in a new US clinical trial, researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have used the HeartLight Endoscopic Ablation System (EAS) to correct abnormal electrical signals inside the heart of a patient affected by atrial fibrillation (AFib), one of the nation's most common heart ailments.
Scripps research scientists unlock evolutionary secret of blood vessels
A team of scientists from the California and Florida campuses of the Scripps Research Institute have shed light on how vertebrates evolved closed circulation systems designed to more effectively carry blood to organs and tissues.
Energy network within cells may be new target for cancer therapy
Mitochondria may be a promising new target for cancer therapy.
Study finds college students willing to donate genetic material to biobanks for research
College students will donate their blood or tissue for scientific research, says a study from Southern Methodist University, Dallas.
Specially-bred mice help target an annual outbreak: the flu
Oregon Health & Science University researchers are studying specially bred mice that are more like humans than ever before when it comes to genetic variation.
Study posits a theory of moral behavior
Why do some people behave morally while others do not?
Purdue researchers reveal role of protein mutation in Parkinson's disease
Purdue University researchers revealed how a mutation in a protein shuts down a protective function needed to prevent the death of neurons in Parkinson's disease, possibly opening the door to new drug strategies to treat the disorder.
ORNL finding has materials scientists entering new territory
Solar cells, light emitting diodes, displays and other electronic devices could get a bump in performance because of a discovery at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory that establishes new boundaries for controlling band gaps.
Being born in another country may protect against stroke for US Hispanics
New research finds foreign-born Hispanics now living in the United States appear to be less likely to have a stroke compared to non-Hispanic white people.
LLNL partners with Native American carbon researchers to help support Marshallese resettlement
Researchers from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a team of American Indian scientists and engineers have partnered to study the possible use of Black Earth technology, or Cpryo, to help mitigate the uptake of radiocesium in locally grown foods in the Marshall Islands.
A step forward in effort to regenerate damaged nerves
A surprising set of cells may hold potential for aiding nerve transplants in patients who have severe nerve damage -- the type of wound often caused by gunshots, stabbings, car accidents, or action on the battlefield.
Cell energy sensor mechanism discovered
Johns Hopkins and National Taiwan University researchers have discovered more details about how an energy sensing
Promising new compound for treating stroke
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have designed, produced and patented a new chemical compound for the possible treatment of brain damage caused by stroke.
Revising the 'textbook' on liver metabolism offers new targets for diabetes drugs
A team led by researchers from the Institute for Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism (IDOM) at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, has overturned a
Influenza vaccination of pregnant women helps their babies
Vaccinating pregnant women against the influenza virus appears to have a significant positive effect on birth weight in babies, according to a study published in Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Anticipation of stressful situations accelerates cellular aging
The ability to anticipate future events allows us to plan and exert control over our lives, but it may also contribute to stress-related increased risk for the diseases of aging, according to a study by UCSF researchers.
Tiny, implantable medical device can propel itself through bloodstream
For fifty years, scientists had searched for the secret to making tiny implantable devices that could travel through the bloodstream.
A breakthrough in understanding the biology and treatment of ovarian cancer
Researchers at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, Pa., have discovered that the presence and integrity of the opioid growth factor receptor (OGFr), which mediates the inhibitory action of opioid growth factor (OGF) on cell proliferation, is a key to understanding the progression and treatment of human ovarian cancer.
Mayo Clinic: Prediabetes may not explain diabetic polyneuropathies
In a reversal of two decades of medical reports, a Mayo Clinic study finds the frequency of nerve damage called diabetic polyneuropathy is similar in prediabetic patients and healthy people.
New study shows minority toddlers with autism are more delayed than affected Caucasian peers
The first prospective study of ethnic differences in the symptoms of autism in toddlers shows that children from a minority background have more delayed language, communication and gross motor skills than Caucasian children with the disorder.
More grapes, less wrath: Hybrid antimicrobial protein protects grapevines from pathogen
Researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory, University of California at Davis, and the US Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service have created specially engineered grapevines that produce a hybrid antimicrobial protein that can block Xf infection.
Serotonin could play a large role in bone loss
New study suggests that serotonin, a neurotransmitter best known for its role regulating happiness and well-being in the brain, could also play a pivotal role in bone loss during both lactation and in certain types of cancers.
Noninvasive method accurately and efficiently detects risk of Down syndrome
Using a noninvasive test on maternal blood that deploys a novel biochemical assay and a new algorithm for analysis, scientists can detect, with a high degree of accuracy, the risk that a fetus has the chromosomal abnormalities that cause Down syndrome and a genetic disorder known as Edwards syndrome.
Feb. 21, 2012, story tips
Researchers at the Bio-SANS instrument at the High Flux Isotope Reactor used contrast variation and small-angle neutron scattering to get a first insight into how macromolecules form single polyelectrolyte chains in synthetic complexes.
Comparing antimalarial drugs and their effects over the Plasmodium lifecycle
In this week's PLoS Medicine, Michael Delves of Imperial College London, UK and colleagues compare the activity of 50 current and experimental antimalarials against liver, sexual blood, and mosquito stages of selected human and nonhuman parasite species, including Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium berghei, and Plasmodium yoelii.
Combined use of recommended heart failure therapies significantly boosts survival odds
A UCLA-led study has found that a combination of several key guideline-recommended therapies for heart failure treatment resulted in an improvement of up to 90 percent in the odds of survival over two years.
Many young people don't know what constitutes sensible alcohol consumption
A new study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review reveals that young people do not possess the knowledge or skills required to adhere to government guidelines for responsible alcohol consumption.
Tohoku grim reminder of potential for Pacific Northwest megaquake
The March 11, 2011 Tohoku earthquake is a grim reminder of the potential for another strong-motion mega-earthquake along the Pacific Northwest coast, geophysicist John Anderson of the University of Nevada, Reno told members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in a lecture at their annual conference in Vancouver, B.C., Sunday.
LA BioMed investigators uncover new advancements in cardiovascular medicine
With the month of February designated as Heart Health Month, physician-researchers in the Division of Cardiology at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute -- Dr.
'Texting cow' technology boost for farmers
A smart collar is being developed which closely monitors the health of cows and sends the results back to farmers using mobile phone technology.
Study: Brain makes call on which ear is used for cell phone
A new study from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit finds a strong correlation between brain dominance and the ear used to listen to a cell phone, with more than 70 percent of participants holding their cell phone up to the ear on the same side as their dominant hand.
Newly identified oral bacterium linked to heart disease and meningitis
A novel bacterium, thought to be a common inhabitant of the oral cavity, has the potential to cause serious disease if it enters the bloodstream, according to a study in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology.
Scientists explore e-waste globally and bee hive health
Two topics of particular interest to the state of California will headline a gathering of more than 7,000 toxicologists from more than 50 countries at San Francisco's Moscone Center next month -- the negative impacts of electronic waste and the status of honey bee health and California's agriculture industry.
Irish mammals under serious threat from 'invasional meltdown'
Some of Ireland's oldest inhabitants are facing serious threat and possible extinction because of foreign species, according to researchers at Queen's University.
American Heart Association launches free-access online journal
Among findings posted in the inaugural publication of the American Heart Association's online-only, free-access scientific journal, the NIH Stroke Scale accurately identifies patients with the highest risk of death in the first month after stroke.
Rapid response: ONR technologies are building the future force
Three system developed by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) through its TechSolutions process are being featured in a new video, officials announced Feb.
Charging up the auto industry
As demand rises for hybrid and electric cars, new and promising technologies are on the horizon for powering the vehicles, if the incentives remain correct.
How text messaging can help control malaria
In this week's PLoS Medicine, Dejan Zurovac and colleagues from the Kenya Medical Research Institute/Wellcome Trust Research Program, Nairobi, Kenya discuss six areas where text messaging could improve the delivery of health services and health outcomes in malaria in Africa, including three areas transmitting information from the periphery of the health system to malaria control managers and three areas transmitting information to support management of malaria patients.
Smaller antennas for smaller wireless devices and still smaller micro-air vehicles
In most cases the size of the antenna within a wireless device is actually the limiting factor in the minimum achievable size of the device itself.
What is the value of a green card?
Just what does it mean to get a green card?
The molecular basis of touch sensation
A gene known to control lens development in mice and humans is also crucial for the development of neurons responsible for mechanosensory function, as neurobiologists of the Max Delbrueck Center Berlin-Buch have now discovered.
New representation in Sao Paulo
With an expanded presence and in a new environment, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft aims to further strengthen research cooperation between Germany and Latin America with a focus on Brazil.
Study finds some insulin production in long-term Type 1 diabetes
Massachusetts General Hospital research has found that insulin production may persist for decades after the onset of Type 1 diabetes.
Pitt researchers coax gold into nanowires
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have coaxed gold into nanowires as a way of creating an inexpensive material for detecting poisonous gases found in natural gas.
Caught in the act: Team discovers microbes speciating
Not that long ago in a hot spring in Kamchatka, Russia, two groups of genetically indistinguishable microbes decided to part ways.
Environmental pollutant linked with overweight
The levels of the environmental pollutant perfluorooctanoic acid that mothers had in their blood during pregnancy increased the risk of obesity in their daughters at 20 years of age.
Hubble reveals a new class of extrasolar planet
Observations by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have come up with a new class of planet, a water world enshrouded by a thick, steamy atmosphere.
Gases drawn into smog particles stay there, UCI-led study reveals
Airborne gases get sucked into stubborn smog particles from which they cannot escape, according to findings by UC Irvine and other researchers published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Can consuming caffeine while breastfeeding harm your baby?
Babies are not able to metabolize or excrete caffeine very well, so a breastfeeding mother's consumption of caffeine may lead to caffeine accumulation and symptoms such as wakefulness and irritability, according to an interview with expert Ruth Lawrence, M.D., published in Journal of Caffeine Research, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert Inc.
NSF CAREER grants support ocean energy, microforming, computer planning
Three University of New Hampshire faculty members will explore energy from the ocean, manufacturing on a tiny scale, and speedier computer planning, thanks to prestigious Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Awards from the National Science Foundation.
Caught in the act: Team discovers microbes speciating
This new study, led by Rachel Whitaker, and published Feb.
Rare Earth element found far, far away
A team of researchers from institutions including MIT has detected the element tellurium for the first time in three ancient stars.
Scoping the cost of the world's biggest new supercomputer
The world's most powerful telescope -- the new Square Kilometre Array -- is likely to need the world's biggest computer to handle the incredible amount of data it will produce -- and the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research is working out how to do it without breaking the bank.
UNH scientists launch NASA rocket into Aurora
With the full sky shimmering in green aurora, Saturday night (Feb.
High blood homocysteine levels are not linked with coronary heart disease
A comprehensive study in this week's PLoS Medicine shows levels of the amino acid, homocysteine, have no meaningful effect on the risk of developing coronary heart disease, closing the door on the previously suggested benefits of lowering homocysteine with folate acid once and for all.
New project could herald cheaper and more efficient biotechnology
A team of chemists from the universities of Southampton and Oxford have been awarded over £4 million to develop a new technique for
IT security for less than 1 cent
An increasing number of everyday devices such as car keys, smart phones and even medical implants need protection from hackers.
Evolution of staph 'superbug' traced between humans and food animals
A strain of the potentially deadly antibiotic-resistant bacterium known as MRSA has jumped from livestock to humans, according to a new study involving two Northern Arizona University researchers and scientists around the world.
Cocaine and the teen brain: Yale research offers insights into addiction
When first exposed to cocaine, the adolescent brain launches a strong defensive reaction designed to minimize the drug's effects, Yale and other scientists have found.
First digital dictionary of German surnames planned
Under the auspices of the Mainz Academy of Sciences and Literature and in collaboration with Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and the Technical University in Darmstadt, a long-term project aimed at preparing the first-ever comprehensive digital dictionary of German surnames will be commenced in 2012.
Study says overweight Americans may risk kidney damage when attempting weight loss
With one in five overweight Americans suffering from chronic kidney disease, Cleveland Clinic researchers analyzed the nutritional and lifestyle habits of overweight adults, finding that their methods included diets and diet pills that may cause further kidney damage.
TGen-led study suggests origins of MRSA strain in food animals
A strain of the potentially deadly antibiotic-resistant bacterium known as MRSA has jumped from livestock to humans, according to a new study led by the Translational Genomics Research Institute.
New book brings to life the making of American science at the Academy of Natural Sciences
A new, richly illustrated book recounts the passionate personalities and the landmark achievements that shaped the first 200 years of the oldest natural history museum in the Western Hemisphere.
New discovery in fight against Huntington's disease
Researchers at National University of Ireland Galway have made a significant scientific discovery in the fight against Huntington's disease.
Is fructose being blamed unfairly for obesity epidemic?
Is fructose being unfairly blamed for the obesity epidemic? Or do we just eat and drink too many calories?
PNAS announces 6 2011 Cozzarelli Prize recipients
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Editorial Board has selected six papers published by PNAS in 2011 to receive the Cozzarelli Prize, an award that recognizes outstanding contributions to the scientific disciplines represented by the National Academy of Sciences.
Preventing and treating drug use with smartphones
Clinical researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) are combining an innovative constellation of technologies such as artificial intelligence, smartphone programming, biosensors and wireless connectivity to develop a device designed to detect physiological stressors associated with drug cravings and respond with user-tailored behavioral interventions that prevent substance use.
Coral-eating sea star invaders turn out to be locals
Researchers at the Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB), the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research (JIMAR), organized research units in the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa's School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, and Rutgers University have disproven the secondary outbreak hypothesis in the Central Pacific.
Mayo Clinic and Southeast Minnesota Beacon Community collaborators will showcase work at conference
Mayo Clinic, along with its partners in a program called the Southeast Minnesota Beacon Community, is working on solutions to this problem.
A mechanism to improve learning and memory
There are a number of drugs and experimental conditions that can block cognitive function and impair learning and memory.
NASA'S Chandra finds fastest wind from stellar-mass black hole
Astronomers using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory have clocked the fastest wind yet discovered blowing off a disk around a stellar-mass black hole.
Statement from ASH President Armand Keating, M.D., on FDA action to alleviate drug shortages
The American Society of Hematology is encouraged by the steps FDA is taking to alleviate drug shortages that have significantly affected so many patients with hematologic malignancies under our members' care.
How good cholesterol turns bad
Berkeley Lab researchers have found new evidence to explain how cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) mediates the transfer of cholesterol from
Wringing more energy out of everyday motions
Randomness and chaos in nature, as it turns out, can be a good thing -- especially if you are trying to harvest energy from the movements of everyday activities like walking.
Hubble reveals a new type of planet
Our solar system contains three types of planets: rocky, terrestrial worlds (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars), gas giants (Jupiter and Saturn), and ice giants (Uranus and Neptune).
Engineering, geoscience faculty help lead $3 million NSF Delta research collaboration
The National Science Foundation has awarded the University of Texas at Austin and six other universities $3 million to establish the Delta Dynamics Collaboratory, a network of researchers working to build a comprehensive set of computer models that can reliably predict the physical and ecological evolution of river deltas.
Study links endometriosis with increased risk of developing 3 specific types of ovarian cancer
Women with a history of endometriosis are significantly more likely to develop three specific types of ovarian cancer (clear cell, endometrioid, and low-grade serous), according to an article published Online First in the Lancet Oncology.
Hold the salt: Coastal drinking water more vulnerable to water use than climate change
Human activity is likely a greater threat to coastal groundwater used for drinking water supplies than rising sea levels from climate change, according to a study conducted by geoscientists from the University of Saskatchewan and McGill University in Montreal.
Saving data in vortex structures
A new phenomenon might make computing devices faster, smaller and much more energy-efficient.
Childhood obesity -- can faith-based organizations make a difference?
Faith-based advocacy has been cited as a valuable tool in combating childhood obesity, but evidence is needed to support this assertion and to define how the link between advocacy and policy can contribute to promoting permanent lifestyle changes.

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