Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 27, 2012
Story on human genetic origins is one of EurekAlert!'s most-visited releases in 2011
Website statistics collected over the course of the year identified the year's 10 most-visited news releases.

Video games depict religion as violent, problematized, MU study shows
Greg Perreault, a doctoral student in the University of Missouri School of Journalism, found that the many newer-generation video games equate religion with violence in the game narratives.

VTT scientists revise the 60-year-old definition of surface tension on solids
Researchers of VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have shown that surface tension on a solid material is unconnected to the energy required to create a new surface.

Family and peer relationships essential to Mexican-American college students' success
A new study by a University of Missouri researcher found that Mexican-American college students' family and peer attachments are associated with prosocial and physically aggressive behaviors that can affect their success in college.

Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet for Feb. 28 early releases
Two studies published in Annals of Internal Medicine concern new research on the flu.

Common sleeping pills linked to more than fourfold increased risk of death
Certain commonly prescribed sleeping pills are associated with a more than fourfold increased risk of death, even among those taking fewer than 18 doses a year, indicates research published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Ultra-fast outflows help monster black holes shape their galaxies
A curious correlation between the mass of a galaxy's central black hole and the velocity of stars in a vast, roughly spherical structure known as its bulge has puzzled astronomers for years.

New resource opens the door for enzyme research
The EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute has launched the Enzyme Portal, a new resource for people who are interested in the biology of enzymes and proteins with enzymatic activity.

A giant little step in cancer treatment opening up new therapeutic horizons
The study published today in the Journal of Clinical Oncology heralds a new horizon in the fight against cancer, opening up a parallel dimension to existing treatment options.

Celebrity Golf Classic raises $553,443 for Seena Magowitz Foundation
The 9th annual Seena Magowitz Celebrity Golf Classic raised $553,443 for pancreatic cancer research at the Translational Genomics Research Institute through the Seena Magowitz Foundation.

IVI granted 2 US patents on dysentery vaccine inventions
The International Vaccine Institute, an international organization based in Seoul devoted to research on the development and introduction of vaccines for the developing world, reached a milestone in its aim to prevent and control dysentery (also commonly called shigellosis or bloody diarrhea), a deadly disease that affects several million people worldwide.

Polysternon isonae, a new species of turtle that lived with dinosaurs in Isona
Researchers at the Institut Catala de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont, the Museu de la Conca Della and the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona have published this week in the online edition of the journal Cretaceous Research the discovery and description of a turtle from the end of the age of dinosaurs.

Arctic sea ice decline may be driving snowy winters seen in recent years
A new study led by Georgia Tech provides further evidence of a relationship between melting ice in the Arctic regions and widespread cold outbreaks in the Northern Hemisphere.

Hundreds of millions of years of change in the Cordilleran terranes of western North America
The March GSA TODAY, the Geological Society of America's open-access science and news magazine, is now online at

Global Carbon Project launches UK office
An international project giving up-to-date information on carbon emissions has opened its first UK office at the University of East Anglia.

Finding explosives with laser beams
Powerful spectroscopic methods have been improved so dramatically that it is now possible to measure the content of a nontransparent container, at a distance of more than a hundred meters.

Use of telephone intervention did not improve adherence to osteoporosis medication regimen
Telephone motivational counseling sessions did not result in a statistically significant improvement in adherence to an osteoporosis medication regimen, according to a report published online first by Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

3 days of NASA infrared images show System 92S tropically developing
NASA satellites have been watching the low pressure area called System 92S for days, and infrared imagery from NASA's Aqua satellite showed cloud temperatures were cooling, indicating the storm was getting more organized after it moved over northern Madagascar.

Amoeba may offer key clue to photosynthetic evolution
The major difference between plant and animal cells is the photosynthetic process, which converts light energy into chemical energy.

Behavioral intervention in physician offices linked with modest reductions in waist circumference
A physical activity and diet program implemented by health educators in physician offices appears to be associated with modest reductions in waist circumference among obese patients, according to a report published online first by Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Reduction in US carbon emissions attributed to cheaper natural gas
Researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have shown that the primary explanation for the reduction in CO2 emissions from power generation in 2009 was that a decrease in the price of natural gas reduced the industry's reliance on coal.

Self-inflicted blinding not linked to Oedipus complex, but untreated psychosis
The self-inflicted removal of one or both eyes, which has traditionally been attributed to sexual guilt, is, in fact, caused by untreated psychotic illness, such as schizophrenia, reveal researchers in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids may cause memory problems
A diet lacking in omega-3 fatty acids, nutrients commonly found in fish, may cause your brain to age faster and lose some of its memory and thinking abilities, according to a study published in the Feb.

Researchers identify novel pathway responsible for infection of a common STD pathogen
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine have for the first time identified a novel pathway that is necessary for infection to occur with the pathogen Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which is responsible for the second most common infectious disease worldwide, gonorrhea.

Research offers insight to how fructose causes obesity and other illness
A group of scientists from across the world have come together in a just-published study that provides new insights into how fructose causes obesity and metabolic syndrome, more commonly known as diabetes.

Automated stress testing for Web 2.0 applications helps Web developers find programming errors
Web applications such as Google Mail, Facebook and Amazon are widely used every day.

England 'should look to the Scots' to solve alcohol problem, says Nottingham academic
England should look to Scotland to solve its drinking culture, which has seen having a pint of lager become as cheap and freely accessible as downing a pint of milk, an expert at the University of Nottingham has said.

Younger patients more likely to live a decade or longer after heart transplant
Heart transplant patients who receive new organs before the age of 55 and get them at hospitals that perform at least nine heart transplants a year are significantly more likely than other people to survive at least 10 years after their operations, new Johns Hopkins research suggests.

Recovery housing and treatment programs reduce relapse among recovering opioid addicts
Opioid-dependent individuals who want to kick the habit typically begin the road to recovery with detoxification.

Drug-free housing for substance abusers leaving detox linked to fewer relapses
New Johns Hopkins research suggests that providing housing contingent on drug abstinence to inner-city opioid abusers leaving a detoxification program significantly increases their chances of remaining drug-free six months later.

Racioethnic consistency between retail employees and customers boosts profit, national study finds
A nationwide study of racioethnic representation between retail employees and their customers finds that mirroring a customer base improves consumer satisfaction and employee productivity -- and contributes to nearly $100,000 in annual gains or losses per store.

Research sheds light on how immune system's 'first responders' target infection
Researchers have discovered previously unsuspected aspects of the chemokine guidance system used by the body's first line of defense against infection.

Immortal worms defy aging
Researchers from the University of Nottingham have demonstrated how a species of flatworm overcomes the aging process to be potentially immortal.

Aurora-A hinders tumor-suppressor to allow chemotherapy resistance
A protein abundantly found in treatment-resistant cancers holds an important tumor-suppressor out of the cell nucleus, where it would normally detect DNA damage and force defective cells to kill themselves, a team of scientists reports in the current Cancer Cell.

Land-ocean connections
Scientists from the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at the University of Hawaii - Manoa, and colleagues recently discovered that land-based plant material, such as tree trunks, leaves, and kukui nuts; and coastal macroalgae indirectly support the increased abundances of bottom fish in submarine canyons, like those off the north shore of Moloka'i.

Modified bone drug kills malaria parasite in mice
A chemically altered osteoporosis drug may be useful in fighting malaria, researchers report in a new study.

Researchers get first full look at prehistoric New Zealand penguin
After 35 years, a giant fossil penguin has finally been completely reconstructed, giving researchers new insights into prehistoric penguin diversity.

New energy storage device based on water
The global energy demand is still increasing. However, today's concepts for power generation aren't able to deliver the amount of electricity, which is needed in the future.

Physician to be honored as 'Legend'
The Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center recently announced that it will honor John E.

New solution for a sensitive problem
Scientists at Empa have worked with the industrial partner Incosan GmbH to develop a multi-layer pad and special briefs to make daily life easier for people suffering from incontinence.

Wiley-Blackwell to expand publishing relationship with the British Educational Research Association
Wiley-Blackwell, the scientific, technical, medical and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons Inc. today expanded its partnership with the British Educational Research Association by announcing the publication of two further journals together.

Visual alerts shown to evoke quicker reactions than alerts through other senses
New research has shown that visual alerting methods are still considered to be the most trustworthy, as compared to auditory or tactile alerts.

Deaths triple among football players, morning temperatures thought to play a role
Heat-related deaths among football players across the country tripled to nearly three per year between 1994 and 2009 after averaging about one per year the previous 15 years, according to an analysis of weather conditions and high school and college sports data conducted by University of Georgia researchers.

NTU to establish Singapore as Asian hub in complexity science research
Asia will receive a boost in the field of complexity science through a dedicated program by Nanyang Technological University.

First study on long-term cognitive effects of breast cancer chemotherapy finds subtle impairment among women who received CMF regimen
A study being published online Feb. 27, 2012, in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, shows that women who underwent a once-common chemotherapy regimen known as CMF between 1976 and 1995 score slightly lower on cognitive tests that measure word learning, memory and information processing speed than women without a history of cancer.

Southern insect scientists to meet in Little Rock
The 2012 Joint Meeting of the Southeastern and Southwestern Branches of the Entomological Society of America will be held March 4-7, 2012 at the Peabody Hotel in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Leveling the plowing field for women: International conference
Hundreds of participants, including ministers, World Food Prize Laureates, farmers, gender experts, leading scientists, community development organizations and innovators will gather in New Delhi, India, for the first international conference to comprehensively address the gender gap in agriculture.

Scientists collaborate in discovery of new targets for the treatment of asthma
A collaboration between scientists in Trinity College Dublin and the United Kingdom has identified new processes that lead to the development of a novel cell implicated in allergies.

Scripps study finds higher death risk with sleeping pills
People are relying on sleeping pills more than ever to get a good night's rest, but a new study by Scripps Clinic researchers links the medications to a 4.6 times higher risk of death and a significant increase in cancer cases among regular pill users.

ORNL tool puts spotlight on nation's electricity generation capacity
A technology could streamline and strengthen the process for siting power plants while potentially enhancing the nation's energy security.

Eye-tracking reveals variability in successful social strategies for children with autism
In a study published in the March 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Katherine Rice and colleagues, from the Marcus Autism Center, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, and Emory University School of Medicine, used eye-tracking technology to measure the relationship between cognitive and social disability in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and the ability of children with ASD to pay attention to social interactions.

Vegetarians and those on restricted diets unwittingly eating animal gelatin in meds
A significant proportion of vegetarians and other patients with dietary preferences borne out of cultural/religious practices are unwittingly consuming animal gelatin in prescribed medicines, reveals research published online in Postgraduate Medical Journal.

Establishing a new scalar curvature flow method
Mathematicians from National University of Singapore and Nanjing University have uncovered a new scalar curvature flow method by challenging age-old assumptions of renowned Mathematicians T.

Frontal attack or stealth?
New research shows that bacteria that are able to invade cells of the host's immune system have higher infectivity, whereas those that are more motile, multiply faster and communicate with each other need more bacterial cells to trigger an infection.

New research shows childhood adversity causes changes in genetics
Paper finds epigenetic effect of psychological difficulty in childhood on an important regulator of stress response.

Antisense oligonucleotides make sense in myotonic dystrophy
Antisense oligonucleotides -- short segments of genetic material designed to target specific areas of a gene or chromosome -- that activated an enzyme to

Researchers describe link between prescription and illicit drug misuse in high-risk groups
A new report from researchers at the Drexel University School of Public Health identifies patterns in the misuse of illicit drugs among young adults who also misuse prescription drugs.

National Academy of Inventors holds inaugural annual conference
At the Inaugural Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors at the University of South Florida, David Kappos, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, spoke on changes and improvements at the USPTO.

Ice Age coyotes were supersized compared to coyotes today, fossil study reveals
Coyotes today are pint-sized compared to their Ice Age counterparts, finds a new fossil study.

'Universal' vaccines could finally allow for wide-scale flu prevention
Princeton University-based researchers have found that an emerging class of long-lasting flu vaccines called

Exploration of mythical David and Goliath battle site reaches new depth
This summer, Tel Aviv University's Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology adds another excavation to their list of seven active digs -- the site of the legendary battle of David and Goliath.

The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) reassures many women
Ten years after the initial publication of the WHI, most experts agree that the benefits of hormone therapy for symptomatic healthy women ages 50 to 59 are likely to outweigh the harm.

Hyperactivity in brain may explain multiple symptoms of depression
People with depression suffer a number of symptoms -- including anxiety, memory issues, and sleep disturbances.

Protocol reduces sternal wound infections in children by 61 percent
Interventions such as more precise timing of antibiotics administered before surgery helped reduce sternal wound infections in children who underwent cardiac surgery.

Upper class more likely to be scofflaws
The upper class has a higher propensity for unethical behavior, being more likely to believe - as did Gordon Gekko in the movie

Multiple sclerosis: Damaged myelin not the trigger
Damaged myelin in the brain and spinal cord does not cause the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis (MS), neuroimmunologists from the University of Zurich have now demonstrated in collaboration with researchers from Berlin, Leipzig, Mainz and Munich.

Kaiser Permanente study finds obesity-asthma link in children varies by race/ethnicity
Children and adolescents who are overweight or obese are more likely to have asthma than their healthy weight counterparts, according to a new Kaiser Permanente Southern California study published in the online edition of Obesity.

1 in 4 adults with a mental illness have been a victim of violence in the past year
Adults with disabilities are at much greater risk of violence than adults without disabilities, according to a new meta-analysis published online first in the Lancet.

Work-focused psychotherapy can help employees return to work sooner
Employees on sick leave with common mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety fully returned to work sooner when therapy deals with work-related problems and how to get back on the job, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

Traces of listeria found in Vancouver ready-to-eat fish products: UBC study
A University of British Columbia study has found traces of the bacteria listeria in ready-to-eat fish products sold in metro Vancouver, Canada.

HFSA updates recommendations for use of cardiac resynchronization therapy
Based on a review of the latest evidence, the Guidelines Committee of the Heart Failure Society of America now recommends that the use of cardiac resynchronization therapy be expanded to a larger group of patients with mild heart failure symptoms.

Sprite pioneer elected AGU Fellow for 2012
University of Alaska Fairbanks professor emeritus Davis

Record-speed wireless data bridge demonstrated: Takes high-speed communications the 'last mile'
A team of researchers in Germany has created a new way to overcome many of the issues associated with bringing high-speed digital communications across challenging terrain and into remote areas, commonly referred to as the

Targeted drug helps leukemia patients who do not benefit from initial therapy
A new study has found that patients with chronic myeloid leukemia who have not responded to interferon treatments experience long-term benefits when they switch to the targeted drug imatinib.

Which type of obesity surgery is best?
A new study, the BY-BAND study, will assess which surgical approach is best to treat obesity -- the gastric band or the gastric bypass?

The poor, in fact, are less likely to sue their doctor
Contrary to the common perception among physicians that poor people sue doctors more frequently, researchers demonstrate that socioeconomically disadvantaged patients, in fact, tend to sue physicians less often.

How accurate are rapid flu tests?
A new study led by McGill University has put the accuracy of rapid influenza diagnostic tests (RIDTs) under the microscope.

Diabetes drug gets patients with Type 2 diabetes on target
Too high? Too low? Only about half of those with Type 2 diabetes have their blood sugar levels on target, but a new drug, studied by the University of Michigan shows promise in managing glucose levels.

Coral reef study traces indirect effects of overfishing
A study of the tropical coral reef system along the coastline of Kenya has found dramatic effects of overfishing that could threaten the long-term health of the reefs.

Salty soil can suck water out of atmosphere: Could it happen on Mars?
The frigid McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica are a cold, polar desert, yet the sandy soils there are frequently dotted with moist patches in the spring despite a lack of snowmelt and no possibility of rain.

Biotech firm spun off from Children's Hospital raises $7 million to advance vascular treatment
Vascular Magnetics, the first start-up company spun off by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, has raised $7 million to advance development of an innovative drug delivery system using magnetically targeted nanoparticles to treat peripheral artery disease.

Irregular heartbeat strong predictor of decline in people at risk of heart disease
An irregular heartbeat -- atrial fibrillation -- is a strong predictor of cognitive decline and the loss of independence in daily activities in older people at risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Prostate cancer treatment overused in some older patients
Treatment is not always warranted for older men with prostate cancer and a short life expectancy, Yale School of Medicine researchers report in the Feb.

A study analyzes the causes of the trafficking of women in China
Research in which Universidad Carlos III of Madrid is participating analyzes the trafficking of women in China, a crime that is related to that country's great imbalance in the proportion of men to women, which has become worse since the 1980s.

Indigenous peoples at forefront of climate change offer lessons on plant biodiversity
Over the last 40 years, Dr. Jan Salick, senior curator and ethnobotanist with the WLBC of the Missouri Botanical Garden has worked with the Yanesha of the upper Peruvian Amazon and the Tibetans of the Himalayas, two groups of indigenous peoples carrying on traditional ways of life, even in the face of rapid environmental changes.

Rocket launches from Poker Flat Research Range
On Saturday, Feb. 18 at 8:41 p.m. Alaska time, scientists launched a NASA sounding rocket from Poker Flat Research Range into a brilliant aurora display.

Hearing loss linked to 3-fold risk of falling
Hearing loss has been linked with a variety of medical, social and cognitive ills, including dementia.

Study examines stent implantation compared to initial medical therapy for stable coronary disease
A meta-analysis of eight previously published clinical trials suggests that initial stent implantation for patients with stable coronary artery disease is not associated with improved outcomes compared with initial medical therapy for prevention of death, nonfatal heart attacks, unplanned revascularization or angina, according to a study published in the Feb.

Solving a spintronic mystery
A collaboration of Berkeley Lab and Notre Dame researchers appear to have resolved a long-standing controversy regarding the semiconductor gallium manganese arsenide, one of the most promising materials for spintronic technology. 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