Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 13, 2012
Research reveals carbon footprint caused by China's irrigation system
China's groundwater irrigation system is responsible for polluting the atmosphere with more than 30 million tons of CO2 per year -- according to research from the University of East Anglia.

Santorini: The ground is moving again in paradise
Santorini, a tourist magnet famous for its breathtaking cliffs and sunsets, sits atop an active volcano.

University of Warwick research suggests suicide rates higher in Protestant areas than Catholic
Research from the University of Warwick suggests suicide rates are much higher in Protestant areas than Catholic areas.

Barrier to faster graphene devices identified and suppressed
Vanderbilt physicists report that they have nailed down the source of the interference inhibiting the rapid flow of electrons through graphene-based devices and found a way to suppress it.

NIH and Lilly to generate public resource of approved and investigational medicines
The National Institutes of Health and Eli Lilly and Company will generate a publicly available resource to profile the effects of thousands of approved and investigational medicines in a variety of sophisticated disease-relevant testing systems, NIH announced today.

Cassini spies wave rattling jet stream on Jupiter
New movies of Jupiter are the first to catch an invisible wave shaking up one of the giant planet's jet streams, an interaction that also takes place in Earth's atmosphere and influences the weather.

A fragrant new biofuel
Joint BioEnergy Institute researchers have identified methyl ketones, chemical compounds known for their fragrance and flavor, as strong biofuel candidates.

New research center to study effect of welfare schemes on early childhood
Public paid maternity/paternity leave is an example of unique Danish welfare policies which allow the parents of newborns time and the right conditions for ensuring the health and well-being of their child.

Losing belly fat, whether from a low-carb or a low-fat diet, helps improve blood vessel function
Overweight people who shed pounds, especially belly fat, can improve the function of their blood vessels no matter whether they are on a low-carb or a low-fat diet, according to a study being presented by Johns Hopkins researchers at an American Heart Association scientific meeting in San Diego on March 13 that is focused on cardiovascular disease prevention.

Indiana University expert to blog for JAMA on politics of health care
Indiana University's Aaron E. Carroll, M.D., M.S., a nationally respected health policy expert and health services researcher, has been named to a select team of the nation's foremost scholars who will provide insight about the political aspects of health care this election year via The JAMA Forum, a new Journal of the American Medical Association blog.

UGA College of Public Health cancer survival study uncovers wide racial disparities
African Americans in Georgia, especially in rural areas, have drastically poorer survival rates from cancer.

Genetic study shows that inflammatory protein plays a role in heart disease
A protein involved in inflammation, the interleukin-6 receptor, is a contributing cause in the development of heart disease, new research led by the University of Cambridge has discovered.

Fatty diets may be associated with reduced semen quality
Men's diets, in particular the amount and type of different fats they eat, could be associated with their semen quality according to the results of a study published online in Europe's leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction.

ONR Director to discuss basic research, STEM education on NPR's 'Science Friday'
The scientist in charge of the Office of Naval Research's basic research portfolio will participate in a panel discussion on National Public Radio's

Sleep apnea treatment may protect against heart failure
Sleep apnea can cause harmful structural and functional changes in the heart similar to those caused by chronic high blood pressure, but breathing treatment may prevent the changes.

3-D printer with nano precision
Advances in modern nanotechnology allow scientists to create three dimensional objects with sub-micrometer precision.

World's first pilot factory for printed intelligence industrialization opens at VTT
The grand opening of the PrintoCent Pilot Factory for Printed Intelligence Industrialisation will take place on March 13.

Hospital survival differs among Hispanic and non-Hispanic heart failure patients
Among heart failure patients with preserved, or normal, heart function, Hispanics are more likely than non-Hispanic whites to survive their hospital stays.

Gene Kritsky to give Entomology Founders' Memorial lecture
Dr. Gene Kritsky, a professor of biology at the College of Mount St.

New compound discovered that rapidly kills liver cancer
Scientists have identified a new compound that rapidly kills hepatocellular carcinoma cells, the most common form of liver cancer and fifth most common cancer worldwide, while sparing healthy tissue.

Disruptive children and their parents benefit from parenting classes
Children with disruptive behavioral problems and their parents can benefit from peer-led parenting classes, claims a study published today on

Hydrogen power in real life
Since 2009, a hydrogen powered street cleaning vehicle has been undergoing testing on the streets.

Just 60 seconds of combat impairs memory
Just 60 seconds of all-out physical exertion in a threatening situation can seriously damage the memories of those involved for many details of the incident, according to a new study of police officers.

Dietary patterns exist among US adults based on demographics
Scientists say they have identified five eating patterns for US adults that are strongly influenced by age, race, region, gender, income and education.

Deep brain stimulation
Deep brain stimulation, increasingly recognized as an effective therapy for certain cases of Parkinson's disease, dystonia and tremor, also may help patients who suffer from treatment-resistant obsessive-compulsive disorder or depression.

Global warming skepticism climbs during tough economic times
The American public's growing skepticism in recent years about the existence of man-made global warming is rooted in apprehension about the troubled economy, a University of Connecticut study suggests.

What future Erasmus students are like is being studied
What is it that turns an ordinary student into an Erasmus student?

Treating intestinal E. coli infection with antibiotic may reduce duration of bacterial carriage
In the E. coli outbreak in Germany in May 2011, treatment with azithromycin was associated with a lower frequency of long-term carriage of the bacteria and shorter duration of shedding of the bacteria in stool specimens, according to a study in the March 14 issue of JAMA.

Providers' attitude toward vaccinating young males against HPV may challenge new recommendations
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine have found that a health care provider's attitude toward male human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination may influence the implementation of new guidelines.

Optics Express focus issue: Modular ultrafast lasers
Ultrafast lasers, lasers that emit light pulses that are as short as a few femtoseconds, have enabled a wide-range of fundamental science and applications over the past two decades.

Scientists produce eye structures from human blood-derived stem cells
For the first time, scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have made early retina structures containing proliferating neuroretinal progenitor cells using induced pluripotent stem cells derived from human blood.

'A Lethal Inheritance'
Every family has secrets, only some can be deadly. In

Italian researchers found how to stop low back pain
Italian researchers at the Catholic University of Sacred Heart in Rome found an important molecular mechanism responsible for low back pain and other acute vertebral problems like cervical axial pain, all due to aging and degeneration of the vertebral column.

Text messages help HIV patients stick to antiretroviral drug therapy
Mobile phones could play a valuable role in helping HIV patients to take their medication every day, according to a new Cochrane Systematic Review.

Data support theory on location of lost Leonardo da Vinci painting
Evidence uncovered during research conducted in Florence's Palazzo Vecchio late last year appears to support the theory that a lost Leonardo da Vinci painting existed on the east wall of the Hall of the 500, behind Giorgio Vasari's mural

Study shows rats match humans in decision-making that involves combining different sensory cues
The next time you set a trap for that rat running around in your basement, here's something to consider: you are going up against an opponent whose ability to assess the situation and make decisions is statistically just as good as yours.

Post-exposure antibody treatment protects primates from Ebola, Marburg viruses
Army scientists have demonstrated, for the first time, that antibody-based therapies can successfully protect monkeys from the deadly Ebola and Marburg viruses.

Cancer epigenetics: Breakthrough in ID'ing target genes
Cancer is usually attributed to faulty genes, but growing evidence from the field of cancer epigenetics indicates a key role for the gene

WPI receives Gates Foundation award to develop software tools to enhance student learning
Worcester Polytechnic Institute has received a one-year, $277,044 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop software tools that can automatically detect whether students are engaged or disengaged while using educational software, and identify specific types of disengagement -- information that can be used to improve learning outcomes.

150 'Planet under Pressure' public events worldwide
As 2,500 specialists gather at the Planet Under Pressure conference in London to present the latest scientific knowledge on the state of the planet and potential solutions for a sustainable world, science centers and museums worldwide will hold 150 related public events in North and South America, Asia, Australia, Africa and Europe, offering the public a snapshot of the state of the planet and scientific concern in advance of June's UN Rio+20 Summit.

Reduced baby risk from another cesarean
A major study led by the University of Adelaide has found that women who have had one prior cesarean can lower the risk of death and serious complications for their next baby -- and themselves -- by electing to have another cesarean.

Children at risk for schizophrenia show disordered brain networks Wayne State finds
A team of neuroscientists led by a Wayne State University School of Medicine professor has discovered stark developmental differences in brain network function in children of parents with schizophrenia when compared to those with no family history of mental illness.

Could the immune system help recovery from stroke?
Stroke and other diseases and injuries to the brain are often followed by inflammation, caused by a reaction of the body's immune system.

Genetic studies lay the foundations for anti-inflammatory drugs to prevent heart disease
Two large international meta-analyses published online first in the Lancet provide compelling new evidence that interleukin-6 receptor, a protein involved in inflammatory signaling, has a causal role in the development of coronary heart disease.

NASA and CSA robotic operations advance satellite servicing
NASA's Robotic Refueling Mission experiment aboard the International Space Station has demonstrated remotely controlled robots and specialized tools can perform precise satellite-servicing tasks in space.

Prolonged space travel causes brain and eye abnormalities in astronauts
Magnetic resonance imaging of the eyes and brains of 27 astronauts who have spent prolonged periods of time in space revealed optical abnormalities similar to those that can occur in intracranial hypertension of unknown cause, a potentially serious condition in which pressure builds within the skull, according to a new study.

U-M biologists find potential drug that speeds cellular recycling
A University of Michigan cell biologist and his colleagues have identified a potential drug that speeds up trash removal from the cell's recycling center, the lysosome.

John Theurer Cancer Center Surgeon co-authors only guide on orthopedic oncology surgery
James C. Wittig, M.D., Chief Orthopedic Oncology and Co-Chief, Skin and Sarcoma at the John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center, one of the nation's top 50 best hospitals for cancer, joined leading experts to co-author the only step by step guide of all operative procedures in orthopedic oncology titled

Mayo Clinic: REM sleep disorder doubles risk of mild cognitive impairment, Parkinson's
People with symptoms suggesting rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder, or RBD, have twice the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment or Parkinson's disease within four years of diagnosis with the sleep problem, compared with people without the disorder, a Mayo Clinic study has found.

Pain relief: Poor evidence for non-drug approaches in labor
There is better evidence for the effectiveness of drug-based approaches for relieving labor pains than non-drug approaches.

JoVE shows how researchers open the brain to new treatments
One of the trickiest parts of treating brain conditions is the blood- brain barrier, a blockade of cells that prevent both harmful toxins and helpful pharmaceuticals from getting to the body's control center.

Endoscopic procedure may result in better outcomes for patients with infected severe pancreatitis
In a small, preliminary trial, patients with infected necrotizing pancreatitis (severe form of the disease involving devitalized pancreatic tissue) who received a less-invasive procedure, endoscopic transgastric necrosectomy (removal of the pancreatic tissue), had an associated lower risk of major complications and death compared to patients who had surgical necrosectomy, according to a study in the March 14 issue of JAMA.

Cool hands may be the key to increasing exercise capacity
Cooling the palms of the hands while working out could help you stick with a physical activity program, according to a small study presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2012 Scientific Sessions.

American public opposes Israel striking Iran: UMD poll
Only one in four Americans favors Israel conducting a military strike against Iran's nuclear program, finds a new University of Maryland poll.

Research aims for better diagnosis of language impairments
Recent studies by a UT Dallas researcher aim at finding better ways to diagnose young children with language impairments.

Health care poses a significant risk to hospital patients in developing world
Inadequate training or supervision of clinical staff and the absence of, or failure to follow clinical protocols were more important than a shortage of equipment or staff as causing harm to hospitalized patients in the developing world, claims a study published on today.

Storage time for cartilage transplant tissue doubled by MU researchers
Researchers from the University of Missouri have found a way to store donated cartilage for transplants more than twice as long.

Neglecting prominent role of women in agriculture hindering solutions to food security
As developing countries battle multiple threats to food security -- soaring prices, crop-crushing weather extremes and dramatic population growth -- agriculture experts gathering in New Delhi this week warn that efforts to boost food production and reduce malnutrition risk failure if they continue to ignore the important role of women farmers around the world.

NRL's CT-Analyst Operational Demo delivered to Hamburg Germany Fire Brigade
CT-Analyst, the Naval Research Laboratory's rapid urban plume modeling and hazard assessment system, was handed over to the chief of the Hamburg Fire Brigade in a ceremony held at the City Hall in Hamburg, Germany.

Specialist cancer care may improve patient outcomes
Survival rates for cancer patients may be improved by treatment in specialized cancer centers, according to Cochrane researchers.

Researcher sees marine nutraceuticals as growth industry
The marine nutraceutical industry is booming in Europe and Asia, and it has taken off in recent years in Canada as well.

Body clocks may hold key for treatment of bipolar disorder
Scientists have gained insight into why lithium salts are effective at treating bipolar disorder in what could lead to more targeted therapies with fewer side effects.

Clinical news alert: Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons highlights
Below are highlights of new research articles appearing in the March 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, as well as the full table of contents.

Planned repeat cesarean section may be safer for mother and baby
A study by a group of Australian researchers -- the Birth After Caesarean Study Group -- published in this week's PLoS Medicine, suggests that in women who had a previous cesarean section, delivering their next baby by a planned repeat cesarean section was linked to better health outcomes for the mother during her stay in hospital and also better outcomes for her baby compared to having a vaginal birth.

CNIO researchers discover that a gene known to protect against cancer can also promote tumor growth
Can a gene simultaneously protect against cancer and favor its growth?

Study finds association between genetic mutation and age at diagnosis for common childhood cancer
Certain mutations of the gene ATRX were associated with age at diagnosis in children and young adults with advanced-stage neuroblastoma, a cancer that grows in parts of the nervous system, according to a study in the March 14 issue of JAMA.

Cancer drug improves memory in mouse model of Alzheimer's disease
A compound that previously progressed to Phase II clinical trials for cancer treatment slows neurological damage and improves brain function in an animal model of Alzheimer's disease, according to a study in the March 14 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

NASA sees double tropical trouble in northern Australia
Northern Australia is dealing with two tropical systems today, and both were close enough to be captured on one satellite image.

Potential Alzheimer's disease drug slows damage and symptoms in animal model
A study published this week in the Journal of Neuroscience shows that the compound epothilone D is effective in preventing further neurological damage and improving cognitive performance in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease (AD).

Center for Innovative Metal Processing created
Penn State's Applied Research Laboratory and Sciaky Inc., a subsidiary of Phillips Service Industries, will establish the Center for Innovative Metal Processing through Direct Digital Deposition as a Manufacturing Demonstration Facility under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Open Manufacturing Initiative.

How can guideline development and policy development be linked?
In the second paper in a three-part series on health systems guidance, John Lavis of McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada and colleagues explore the challenge of linking guidance development and policy development at global and national levels.

New insights into the synaptic basis of chronic pain
Pain is an important physiological function that protects our bodies from harm.

Baboon-like social structure creates efficiencies for spotted hyena
As large, carnivorous mammals, spotted hyenas are well known for their competitive nature; However, recent work suggests that their clan structure has similarities to some primate social systems such as those of the baboon and macaque.

Patients with high alcohol screening scores use more post-surgical health care resources
According to the results of a new study published in the March 2012 issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, patients who score highest on the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test-Consumption (AUDIT-C) experience longer postoperative hospital stays and more days in the intensive care unit; they are also more likely to return to the operating room within 30 days of a surgical procedure than patients with low AUDIT-C scores.

New research highlights: 'Conservation and Management of Eastern Big-Eared Bats'
A new publication from the USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station, 'Conservation and Management of Eastern Big-Eared Bats,' brings together the latest knowledge about eastern big-eared bats.

Uterine rupture is rare in the UK but increases with the number of previous cesarean deliveries
An analysis of the UK Obstetric Surveillance System published in this week's PLoS Medicine shows that uterine rupture -- a serious complication of pregnancy in which the wall of the uterus tears during pregnancy or early labor -- is rare but for women who have previously had a cesarean section, the risk of rupture increases with the number of previous cesarean deliveries, a short interval since the last cesarean section, and with induced labor.

Conflicts of interest plague the next international manual of mental disorders
There are concerns that the revised Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM -- an internationally recognized classification of mental disorders produced by the American Psychiatric Association), scheduled for publication in May 2013, has been unduly influenced by the pharmaceutical industry despite the APA's instigating a policy of disclosing all financial conflicts of interest.

St. Michael's doctor uses wiki to empower patients and help them to develop asthma action plans
Imagine that you have asthma, and rather than give you a set of instructions about what to do if you have an attack, your doctor invites you to help write them?

Research shows 50 years of motherhood manuals set standards too high for new moms
New research at the University of Warwick into 50 years of motherhood manuals has revealed how despite their differences they have always issued advice as orders and set unattainably high standards for new moms and babies.

Kessler Foundation MS study documents negative effect of warmer weather on cognition
Kessler Foundation scientists showed that outdoor temperature significantly impacts cognitive functioning in multiple sclerosis (MS).

Nitrate in drinking water poses health risks for rural Californians
UC Davis releases comprehensive report addressing the sources and costs of nitrate contamination in two of California's most productive agricultural regions.

Research suggests new therapeutic approach for spinal cord injury
A new study suggests that administering FTY720, an oral drug that has shown promise in trials for human multiple sclerosis, significantly improves locomotor recovery in mice with spinal cord injury.

NJIT Tech Forum series: Paving the way to a smarter world: Creativity in engineering education
Imagination and creativity have long energized technological progress. In recent decades, engineers and scientists exceptional for these qualities as well as in-depth knowledge in their disciplines have transformed the world through advances in information technology and many other areas.

Get me out of this slump! Visual illusions improve sports performance
With the NCAA men's college basketball tournament set to begin, college basketball fans around the United States are in the throes of March Madness.

A simple, low-cost yoga program can enhance coping and quality of life for the caregivers
For dementia caregivers, UCLA researchers have found that engaging in a brief, 12-minute yogic practice that included an ancient chanting meditation, can lead to improved cognitive functioning, and lower levels of depression for caregivers.

Looking a trophy buck in the mouth
Researchers at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Uvalde have developed a more accurate technique than traditional methods for estimating the age of white-tailed bucks.

Study examines outcomes among patients treated in universal health care system
Among hospitals in Ontario, Canada, those with higher levels of spending, which included higher intensity nursing and greater use of specialists and procedures, had an associated lower rate of deaths, hospital readmissions, and better quality of care for severely ill hospitalized patients, according to a study in the March 14 issue of JAMA.

Discovery of Mer protein in leukemia cells' nuclei may be new, druggable target
A University of Colorado Cancer Center study, recently published in the journal PLoS ONE, found that the oncogene, Mer, not only coats the outside of cancer cells but is inside cancer cells' nuclei as well -- offering another opportunity to target this cause of cancer.

Voters favor deep-voiced politicians
Candidates with lower-pitched voices may get more votes in the 2012 election.

Fertilization by invasive species threatens nutrient-poor ecosystems
Invasive species are prolific non-native plants or animals that, when introduced to an ecosystem, may imbalance the system and disrupt its natural functioning.

Scientists tap the cognitive genius of tots to make computers smarter
People often wonder if computers make children smarter. Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, are asking the reverse question: can children make computers smarter?

Tecnalia will develop active packaging for cheeses, cakes and pastries
Tecnalia will develop a new system of active protection for processed cheeses and cake and pastry products through the selection of natural anti-fungal compounds and the study of their subsequent application to these food items.

Researchers identify optimal threshold for HbA1c test for prediabetes
Setting a specific HbA1c cutoff threshold for prediabetes, which could be used to determine eligibility for interventions to prevent progression to more serious type 2 diabetes, has generated much debate, with at least three different cutoffs recommended by different professional organizations.

'The Irish Way' in shaping America's cities is subject of historian's new book
Irish Americans played a large part in Americanizing the waves of immigrants who came after them, and in forming a multiethnic urban culture, says James Barrett, a social and labor historian at Illinois and author of

Genome sequencing initiative links altered gene to age-related neuroblastoma risk
Researchers have identified the first gene mutation associated with a chronic and often fatal form of neuroblastoma that typically strikes adolescents and young adults.

A new approach to faster anticancer drug discovery
Tracking the genetic pathway of a disease offers a powerful, new approach to drug discovery, according to scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine who used the approach to uncover a potential treatment for prostate cancer, using a drug currently marketed for congestive heart failure.

UC Riverside alumna receives high honor in genetics
Stephanie Turner Chen, a University of California, Riverside, alumna, has received the prestigious Larry Sandler Memorial Award given by the Genetics Society of America to the most outstanding Ph.D. dissertation of the year in Drosophila genetics. 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