Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 07, 2012
Crabs, insects and spiders vulnerable to oil spill, but also resilient
Crabs, insects and spiders in coastal salt marshes affected by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010 were both quite vulnerable to oil exposure, but also resilient enough to recover within a year if their host plants remained healthy

15-year study: When it comes to creating wetlands, Mother Nature is in charge
Fifteen years of studying two experimental wetlands has convinced Bill Mitsch that turning the reins over to Mother Nature makes the most sense when it comes to this area of ecological restoration.

Biodegradable transistors -- made from us
Most transistors are made of silicon, which is quickly becoming impractical in an electronics industry producing ever-smaller products that need to be environmentally safe.

What does chronic stress in adolescence mean at the molecular level?
Chronic stress has a more powerful effect on the brain during adolescence than in adulthood and now there's proof at the molecular level, according to findings published in Neuron by University at Buffalo researchers.

University of Houston study shows BP oil spill hurt marshes, but recovery possible
A study published in PLoS ONE by two researchers at the University of Houston shows that arthropods living in coastal salt marshes affected by BP oil spill were damaged but they were able to recover if their host plants remained healthy.

That caffeine in your drink -- is it really 'natural?'
That caffeine in your tea, energy drink or other beverage -- is it really natural?

Garafolo tests spacecraft seal to verify computer models
An Akron researcher is designing computer prediction models to test potential new docking seals that will better preserve breathable cabin air for astronauts living aboard the International Space Station and other NASA spacecraft.

Fiercer competition for quicker innovations
Reading e-mails while on the move, downloading music, or watching videos is quite normal for smartphone users.

A foot in the door to genetic information
In the cell nucleus, DNA wraps around what are called histone proteins, forming regularly spaced spherical bodies called nucleosomes.

You are what you eat
ruit and vegetable consumption is correlated with changes in skin redness and yellowness, as reported in the March 7 issue of the open access journal PLoS ONE.

Elusive Higgs boson in sight?
After 40 years of searching, physicists have the elusive Higgs boson in their sights.

Pycnogenol (French maritime pine bark extract) shown to improve menopause symptoms in new study
Natural supplement Pycnogenol, an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, was found to significantly improve signs and symptoms of menopause in a recent clinical trial published in Panminerva Medica.

The effect of catch-up growth by various diets and resveratrol intervention on bone status
Although many current studies focused on catch up growth (CUG) have described its high susceptibility to insulin resistance-related diseases very few have focused on the effect of CUG on bone metabolism, especially in adulthood.

NIST releases Gulf of Mexico crude oil reference material
NIST has released a new certified reference material to support the federal government's Natural Resources Damage Assessment in the wake of the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Artificial wetlands can provide benefits over the long haul
Two 1-hectare wetlands created for research demonstrated that they take up carbon from the atmosphere and nitrogen and phosphorus from incoming water.

Robotic refueling mission begins with space station robotics
NASA's highly anticipated Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) began operations on the International Space Station with the Canadian Dextre robot and RRM tools March 7-9, 2012, marking important milestones in satellite-servicing technology and the use of the space station robotic capabilities.

The shape of things to come: NIST probes the promise of nanomanufacturing using DNA origami
In recent years, scientists have begun to harness DNA's powerful molecular machinery to build artificial structures at the nanoscale using the natural ability of pairs of DNA molecules to assemble into complex structures.

Varied views towards the Falkland Islands dispute from young Argentines
Researchers at the University of Liverpool have found that that the opinions of young people in Argentina towards the Falklands/Malvinas Islands are varied and influenced by a number of factors including geographical location, family history and their views on domestic politics.

Springer and the Italian Society of Applied and Industrial Mathematics launch book series
Springer and the Italian Society of Applied and Industrial Mathematics (SIMAI) will partner to publish a new book series: SIMAI Springer Series.

Antimatter zapped!
An international effort at CERN, led by a Canadian team of researchers, has used microwaves to manipulate antihydrogen atoms, providing the first glimpse of an

Study targets key molecule to reverse kidney damage in mice
In findings that may lead to clinical trials of a promising new drug for kidney disease, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and their colleagues have identified a key molecular player and shown how a targeted experimental drug can reverse kidney damage in mouse models of diabetes, high blood pressure, genetic kidney disease, and other kidney injuries.

NEJM study shows combination treatments benefit melanoma patient
Research published today in the New England Journal of Medicine by scientists at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center showed that combining targeted radiation therapy with immunotherapy (ipilimumab), fostered a strong immune response and a favorable clinical outcome in a patient with melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer.

More effective treatments urgently needed for adolescent depression
More than 2 million teenagers suffer from depression in the US.

NIAID tipsheet for the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
Scientists supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, are among those presenting their latest research findings at the AAAAI Annual Meeting.

Sperm can count
The speed at which the calcium concentration in the cell changes controls the swimming behavior of sperm.

Teaching fat cells to burn calories
In the war against obesity, one's own fat cells may seem an unlikely ally, but new research from the University of California, San Francisco suggests ordinary fat cells can be re-engineered to burn calories.

Scientists discover how a bacterial pathogen breaks down barriers to enter and infect cells
Scientists from the Schepens Eye Research Institute, a subsidiary of Mass.

Past pregnancies linked to reduced MS risk in women
Women who have multiple pregnancies may have a lower risk of developing multiple sclerosis, according to research published in the March 7, 2012, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Ants can learn vibrational and magnetic landmarks
Ants are equipped with a number of sophisticated navigation tools, including the ability to both learn and use vibrational and magnetic landmarks, as reported March 7 in the open access journal PLoS ONE.

NIST to expand work on emergency communications to support FirstNet
NIST will significantly expand its work in support of an advanced wireless communications system for the nation's first responders and emergency workers as a result of new legislation.

Queen's scientists seek vaccine for Pseudomonas infection
Queen's University scientists working on a vaccine to combat Pseudomonas have received a major financial boost from Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke.

Oceans acidifying faster today than in past 300 million years
The oceans may be acidifying faster today than they did in the last 300 million years, according to scientists publishing a paper this week in the journal Science.

Save the date: Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting in Boston April 28-May 1
Journalists can register now for the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies taking place at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston April 28-May 1, 2012.

Players get more pleasure from motion-based video games, Baylor University researchers find
The newest motion-based video games -- which are more interactive than standard video game systems with gamepads -- are more realistic, give a greater sense of

Excessive cured meat consumption increases risk of hospital readmissions for COPD patients
An excessive intake of cured meats, such as salami, chorizo and bacon, can increase readmission to hospital for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to a study by Spanish researchers from the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona.

Playful learning inside a square
Thanks to the work of Fraunhofer researchers, keeping mentally and physically fit at any age is now child's play -- literally.

Genetic survey of endangered Antarctic blue whales shows surprising diversity
More than 99 percent of Antarctic blue whales were killed by commercial whalers during the 20th century, but the first circumpolar genetic study of these critically endangered whales has found a surprisingly high level of diversity among the surviving population of some 2,200 individuals.

Diabetes drug halts atherosclerosis progression in HIV-infected patients
Treatment with the common diabetes drug metformin appears to prevent progression of coronary atherosclerosis in patients infected with HIV.

Nanotrees harvest the sun's energy to turn water into hydrogen fuel
University of California, San Diego electrical engineers are building a forest of tiny nanowire trees in order to cleanly capture solar energy without using fossil fuels and harvest it for hydrogen fuel generation.

Perceptions of discrimination may adversely affect health of immigrants' children, NYU study shows
Children of recent immigrants are more likely to make sick visits to the doctor if their mothers see themselves as targets of ethnic or language-based discrimination, researchers at NYU report in a new study.

NMR sheds new light on polymorphic forms in pharmaceutical compounds
Scientists at the University of Warwick have used state-of-the-art nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) techniques to shed new light on how pharmaceutical molecules pack together in the solid state.

Deafening affects vocal nerve cells within hours
Portions of a songbird's brain that control how it sings have been shown to decay within 24 hours of the animal losing its hearing.

NASA sees second biggest flare of the solar cycle
NASA models using data from the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) and the Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) have now provided more information about the two CMEs associated with the two March 6 flares.

Wilmot researchers create new way to study liver cancer
Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center's James P.

Bright is the new black: New York roofs go cool
On the hottest day of the New York City summer in 2011, a white roof covering was measured at 42 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the traditional black roof it was being compared to, according to a study including NASA scientists that details the first scientific results from the city's unprecedented effort to brighten rooftops and reduce its

WPI's Sonia Chernova wins NSF CAREER award for work aimed at creating 'everyday' robots
Sonia Chernova, assistant professor of computer science and robotics engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, has received a five-year, $500,000 CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation to conduct research aimed at paving the way for general purpose robots that can work effectively and productively alongside people in everyday settings.

Mechanism for Burgess Shale-type preservation
A team of researchers led by Robert Gaines of Pomona College and Emma Hammarlund of the Nordic Center for Earth Evolution claims to have unlocked the mystery of the Burgess Shale in their study,

US Army suicides rose 80 percent between 2004 and 2008
Suicides among US Army personnel rose 80 percent between 2004 and 2008, finds research by US Army Public Health Command and published online in Injury Prevention.

COST to receive additional EUR 10 million from European Commission
COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) and the European Science Foundation (ESF) have been informed by the European Commission Directorate-General for Research & Innovation of their decision to allocate an additional EUR 10 million to COST.

Internet censorship revealed through the haze of malware pollution
On a January evening in 2011, Egypt -- with a population of 80 million, including 23 million Internet users -- vanished from cyberspace after its government ordered an Internet blackout amidst anti-government protests that led to the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

New drug target improves memory in mouse model of Alzheimer's disease
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, the Medical University of South Carolina, the University of Cincinnati, and American Life Science Pharmaceuticals of San Diego have validated the protease cathepsin B (CatB) as a target for improving memory deficits and reducing the pathology of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in an animal model representative of most AD patients.

MIT student inventor Miles C. Barr receives Lemelson-MIT student prize
Miles C. Barr today received the prestigious $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for his innovative solar technologies and creativity.

HIV/AIDS vaccine shows long-term protection against multiple exposures in non-human primates
Scientists at Emory University and GeoVax Labs, Inc. developed a vaccine that has protected nonhuman primates against multiple exposures to simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) given in three clusters over more than three years.

Commonly used herbicides seen as threat to endangered butterflies
A Washington State University toxicologist has found that three commonly used herbicides can dramatically reduce butterfly populations.

Stumped by a problem? This technique unsticks you
Stuck solving a problem? Seek the obscure, says Tony McCaffrey, a psychology Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts.

New species of deep-sea catshark described from the Galapagos
Scientists conducting deep-sea research in the Galapagos have described a new species of catshark, Bythaelurus giddingsi, in the March 5 issue of the journal Zootaxa.

New research helps to identify ancient droughts in China
Drought events are largely unknown in Earth's history, because reconstruction of ancient hydrological conditions remains difficult due to lack of proxy.

Internet-based therapy relieves persistent tinnitus
Those suffering from nagging tinnitus can benefit from Internet-based therapy just as much as patients who take part in group therapy sessions.

Galaxies get up close and personal
The VLT Survey Telescope (VST) at ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile has imaged a fascinating collection of interacting galaxies in the Hercules galaxy cluster.

Researchers develop first 'theranostic' treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)
A team of researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has developed the first

Functional oxide thin films create new field of oxide electronics
Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed the first functional oxide thin films that can be used efficiently in electronics, opening the door to an array of new high-power devices and smart sensors.

Shift to green energy sources could mean crunch in supply of scarce metals
A large-scale shift from coal-fired electric power plants and gasoline-fueled cars to wind turbines and electric vehicles could increase demand for two already-scarce metals -- available almost exclusively in China -- by 600-2,600 percent over the next 25 years, a new study has concluded.

Misoprostol substantially reduces serious complications in early termination of pregnancy
Cervical preparation with misoprostol reduces major complications of early surgical abortion by almost a third compared with placebo, according to new research published online first in the Lancet.

Experimental drug reduces cortisol levels, improves symptoms in Cushing's disease
A new investigational drug significantly reduced urinary cortisol levels and improved symptoms of Cushing's disease in the largest clinical study of this endocrine disorder ever conducted.

2 for 1: Simultaneous size and electrochemical measurement of nanomaterials
NIST researchers have done a mash-up of two very different experimental techniques-neutron scattering and electrochemical measurements-to enable them to observe structural changes in nanoparticles as they undergo an important type of chemical reaction.

The trustworthy cloud
Not a week goes by without reports on security gaps, data theft or hacker attacks.

Study shows how high-fat diets increase colon cancer risk
A study by Temple university researchers has established a link that may explain why eating too much fat and sugar puts a person at greater risk for colon cancer.

WPI's Diana Lados wins CAREER award to augment the use of light metals in transportation
Diana Lados, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, has received a five-year, $525,000 CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation to conduct research aimed at increasing the use of lightweight, fuel-saving metals like aluminum, titanium, and magnesium in cars, trucks, airplanes, boats, and other transportation applications.

New treatment shows promise for kids with life-threatening bone disorder
Doctors at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, working with Shriners Hospital for Children and other institutions, have identified a promising new treatment for a rare and sometimes life-threatening bone disorder that can affect infants and young children.

Manganese concentrations higher in residential neighborhoods than industrial sites, varies by region
A study finds manganese in the air of residential neighborhoods at higher levels than in manufacturing industries.

Interferon decreases HIV-1 levels, controls virus after stopping antiretroviral therapy
Wistar researchers have announced the results of a clinical trial that shows how the immune system can engage in fighting HIV infection if given the right boost.

Study shows mean screens prime the brain for aggression
Research over the past few decades has shown that viewing physical violence in the media can increase aggression in adults and children.

Experimental Biology 2012 programming at a glance
Six scientific societies will hold their joint scientific sessions and annual meetings, known as Experimental Biology (EB), from April 21-25, 2012, in San Diego.

New transplant method may allow kidney recipients to live life free of anti-rejection medication
New ongoing research published today in the journal Science Translational Medicine suggests organ transplant recipients may not require anti-rejection medication in the future thanks to the power of stem cells, which may prove to be able to be manipulated in mismatched kidney donor and recipient pairs to allow for successful transplantation without immunosuppressive drugs.

Federal grant enables HIV testing, treatment in the Augusta area
When Dr. Cheryl Newman meets an HIV-positive patient, one of her first questions is whether he knows anyone else with the infection.

Crystal structure of archael chromatin clarified in new study
Researchers at the RIKEN SPring-8 Center in Harima, Japan have clarified for the first time how chromatin in archaea, one of the three evolutionary branches of organisms in nature, binds to DNA.

BUSM student-published study focuses on khat chewing in Yemeni culture
A new study conducted by Boston University School of Medicine researchers shows that a majority of medical students in Yemen believe that chewing the plant khat is harmful to one's health but they would not advise their patients to quit.

Updated agenda available for optimizing PCI outcomes symposium to be held March 23 in Chicago
The Optimizing PCI Outcomes: A Vision for 2012 symposium will feature the latest clinical and experimental breakthroughs in the percutaneous treatment of coronary artery disease, including the latest clinical data on current and second-generation drug-eluting stent device-based therapies.

Commonly used dementia drugs can help more patients with Alzheimer's
The dementia drug donepezil (Aricept), already widely used to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease, can also help in moderate to severe patients, according to a report funded by the UK Medical Research Council and the Alzheimer's Society.

New research will shed light on racial gap in dementia
In a new study, one Michigan State University professor will explore why in old age, blacks are much more likely to have dementia than whites.

The first spectroscopic measurement of an anti-atom
Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have played leading roles in designing and operating ALPHA, the CERN experiment that was the first to capture and hold atoms of antihydrogen, a single antiproton orbited by a single positron.

Canadian researchers identify a new way to image bleeding in arteries of the brain
New research from the University of Calgary's Hotchkiss Brain Institute shows that by using a CT scan, doctors can predict which patients are at risk of continued bleeding in the brain after a stroke.

Carnegie Mellon performs first large-scale analysis of 'soft' censorship of social media in China
Researchers in Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science analyzed millions of Chinese microblogs, or

Rare medical phenomenon of systemic tumor disappearance following local radiation treatment reported in a patient with metastatic melanoma
A rarely seen phenomenon in cancer patients -- in which focused radiation to the site of one tumor is associated with the disappearance of metastatic tumors all over the body -- has been reported in a patient with melanoma treated with the immunotherapeutic agent ipilimumab (Yervoy).

New studies determine which social class more likely to behave unethically
A series of studies conducted by psychologists at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Toronto in Canada reveal something the well off may not want to hear.

Communication technologies including smartphones and laptops could now be 1,000 times faster
Many of the communication tools of today rely on the function of light or, more specifically, on applying information to a light wave.

Mental health care treatment for immigrants needs retooling, according to task force
The methods psychologists and other health-care providers are using to treat immigrants to the United States need to be better tailored to deal with their specific cultures and needs, according to a task force report released by the American Psychological Association.

Market exchange rules responsible for wealth concentration
Two Brazilian physicists have shown that wealth concentration invariably stems from a particular type of market exchange rules -- where agents cannot receive more income than their own capital.

Guidance on wireless local area network security is close at hand
NIST has released in final form a guide to enhanced security for wireless local area networks.

Resetting the future of MRAM
In close collaboration with colleagues from Bochum and the Netherlands, researchers from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin have developed a novel, extremely thin structure made of various magnetic materials.

Hot meets cold at new deep-sea ecosystem: 'Hydrothermal seep'
Decades ago, marine scientists made a startling discovery in the deep sea.

Chimpanzees have policemen, too
Chimpanzees are interested in social cohesion and have various strategies to guarantee the stability of their group.

Research finds little benefit of breast imaging tests for women with breast pain
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston Medical Center (BMC) have found that women with breast pain who receive imaging (mammograms, MRIs or ultrasounds) as part of breast pain evaluation, undergo follow-up diagnostic testing, but do not gain benefit from these additional studies.

Chimpanzees have policemen, too
Conflict management is crucial for social group cohesion, and while humans may still be working out some of the details, new research shows that some chimpanzees engage in impartial, third-party

NASA sees Tropical Storm Irina heading back toward African mainland
Tropical Storm Irina continues to linger in the Mozambique Channel, and NASA satellite data revealed the strongest storms in the southern quadrant, and Irina is running into some dry air, which may help to weaken it as it moves back to the African mainland.

Wake Forest Baptist research sheds light on cancer of the appendix
Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have demonstrated that cancer of the appendix is different than colon cancer, a distinction that could lead to more effective treatments for both diseases.

Strong scientific evidence that eating berries benefits the brain
Strong scientific evidence exists that eating blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and other berry fruits has beneficial effects on the brain and may help prevent age-related memory loss and other changes, scientists report.

Men respond more aggressively than women to stress and it's all down to a single gene
The pulse quickens, the heart pounds and adrenalin courses through the veins, but in stressful situations is our reaction controlled by our genes, and does it differ between the sexes?

Discovery of brain's natural resistance to drugs may offer clues to treating addiction
A single injection of cocaine or methamphetamine in mice caused their brains to put the brakes on neurons that generate sensations of pleasure, and these cellular changes lasted for at least a week, according to research by scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

Belief that flu jab really works boosts uptake among health-care workers
A belief that the seasonal flu jab really works is far more likely to sway health-care professionals to get vaccinated than the potential to protect at risk patients from infection, finds research published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

What have we got in common with a gorilla?
A team led from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute has sequenced the genome of the last great ape to have its genome decoded, the gorilla.

Self-centered kids? Blame their immature brains
A new study suggests that age-associated improvements in the ability to consider the preferences of others are linked with maturation of a brain region involved in self control.

New Stanford immune-system sensor may speed up, slash cost of detecting disease
An inexpensive new medical sensor has the potential to simplify the diagnosis of diseases ranging from life-threatening immune deficiencies to the common cold, according to its inventors at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

NIST/CU 'star comb' joins quest for Earth-like planets
If there is life on other planets, a laser frequency comb developed at NIST may help find it.

UBC-TRIUMF researchers help provide first glimpse of 'anti-atomic fingerprint'
An international team led by Canadian physicists from the University of British Columbia, SFU and TRIUMF have used microwaves to manipulate anti-hydrogen atoms.

How repeated stress impairs memory
Anyone who has ever been subject to chronic stress knows that it can take a toll on emotions and the ability to think clearly.

Researchers capture first-ever images of atoms moving in a molecule
Using a new ultrafast camera, researchers have recorded the first real-time image of two atoms vibrating in a molecule.

The right type of words
Words spelled with more letters on the right of the keyboard are associated with more positive emotions than words spelled with more letters on the left, according to new research by cognitive scientists Kyle Jasmin and Daniel Casasanto.

NIST measurements may help optimize organic solar cells
Organic solar cells may be a step closer to market because of measurements taken at NIST and the US Naval Research Laboratory, where a team of scientists has developed a better fundamental understanding of how to optimize the cells' performance.

Switch to daylight saving time leads to cyberloafing at the office
The annual shift to daylight saving time and its accompanying loss of sleep cause employees to spend more time than normal surfing the Web for content unrelated to their work, resulting in potentially massive productivity losses, according to researchers.

NASA jet stream study will light up the night sky
An upper atmosphere jet stream makes a perfect target for a particular kind of scientific experiment: the sounding rocket.

Tevatron experiments report latest results in search for Higgs boson
New measurements announced today by scientists from the CDF and DZero collaborations at the Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory indicate that the elusive Higgs boson may nearly be cornered.

Queen's scientist to lead €2.3 million hunt for universe's first exploding star
A Queen's University scientist has been chosen to lead an international €2.3 million hunt to discover how the first chemical elements were created in the universe.

Model for fashion cycles shows how people create and respond to trends
A new computational model accurately reproduces the way fashions travel through a culture, as reported in the March 7 issue of the open access journal PLoS ONE.

Forgotten cancers: Patients are paying a high price
Thousands of patients with rare

Any UK law on cycle helmets should apply only to kids
Any law to make the wearing of cycle helmets mandatory in the UK should apply only to children, because the evidence that cycle helmets significantly protect adults against serious head injury is equivocal, conclude researchers in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

Wash your mouth out with silver
Yeasts which cause hard-to-treat mouth infections are killed using silver nanoparticles in the laboratory, scientists have found. 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