Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 22, 2012
Renewable battery cathode formed from waste
Researchers have designed a battery cathode made of lignin byproducts from the pulp and paper industry, which may lead to cheaper and safer electrodes.

Retigabine for epilepsy: No proof of added benefit
In an early benefit assessment IQWiG examined whether the drug retigabine offers an added benefit compared with the present standard therapy in adults with epileptic seizures.

Scientists reprogram cancer cells with low doses of epigenetic drugs
Experimenting with cells in culture, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have breathed possible new life into two drugs once considered too toxic for human cancer treatment.

Invisibility of magnetic fields made reality
UAB researchers, in collaboration with an experimental group from the Academy of Sciences of Slovakia, have created a cylinder which hides contents and makes them invisible to magnetic fields.

How music prevents organ rejection
Music has a fundamental affect on humans. It can reduce stress, enhance relaxation, provide a distraction from pain, and improve the results of clinical therapy.

Discovery sheds new light on wandering continents
A layer of partially molten rock about 22 to 75 miles underground can't be the only mechanism that allows continents to gradually shift their position over millions of years, according to a NASA-sponsored researcher.

Study: Weight loss won't necessarily help teen girls' self-esteem
Obese white teenage girls who lose weight may benefit physically, but the weight change does not guarantee they are going to feel better about themselves, according to a Purdue University study.

Subtle differences can lead to major changes in parasites
Researchers have found the subtle genetic differences that make one parasite far more virulent than its close relative.

Researchers take first-ever measurement of auroral turbulence using a nanosatellite radar receiver
Researchers from SRI International and the University of Michigan have taken the first-ever measurement of naturally occurring auroral turbulence recorded using a nanosatellite radar receiver.

DNA marker predicts platinum drug response in breast, ovarian cancer
Scientists from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and their colleagues have found a genetic marker that predicts which aggressive

Research points to possible new route to fight dengue virus
Researchers have identified enzymes and biochemical compounds called lipids that are targeted and modified by the dengue virus during infection, suggesting a potential new approach to control the aggressive mosquito-borne pathogen.

New genomic test spares patients chemotherapy with no adverse effect on survival
Testing a breast cancer tumor for its genomic signature can help identify which patients will need adjuvant systemic therapy (additional chemotherapy) after surgery, and spare its use in those for whom it is not necessary, according to the results of a Dutch study.

Skull resconstruction immediately following traumatic brain injury worsens brain damage
Immediate skull reconstruction following trauma that penetrates or creates an indentation in the skull can aggravate brain damage inflicted by the initial injury, a study by a University of South Florida research team reports.

Liquid-like materials may pave way for new thermoelectric devices
In the continual quest for better thermoelectric materials -- which convert heat into electricity and vice versa -- researchers have identified a liquid-like compound whose properties give it the potential to be even more efficient than traditional thermoelectrics.

Genomic data on chronic lung disease made readily available on new website
The Lung Genomics Research Consortium -- an alliance of scientists at five US institutions -- has published a new website that makes a broad range of genomic data on chronic lung disease available in a format specifically tailored to investigators' needs.

People with autism possess greater ability to process information, study suggests
People with autism have a greater than normal capacity for processing information even from rapid presentations and are better able to detect information defined as

Home alone -- depression highest for those living alone
The number of people living on their own has doubled, over the last three decades, to one in three in the UK and US.

Unhealthy behaviors more prevalent in survivors of multiple cancers, study shows
A study published by University of Kentucky researchers shows that survivors of multiple cancers report unhealthier behaviors post-diagnosis than control counterparts.

AERA executive director testifies on FY 2013 NSF budget at House subcommittee hearing
AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies today.

Liver cancer patients less likely to die on wait list than candidates without carcinomas
New research shows increasing disparity in mortality among candidates with and without hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who are on the waiting list for liver transplantation.

Can our genes be making us fat?
A new study in the March issue of the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists, reported that two specific genes (TAS2R38 -- a bitter taste receptor -- and CD36 -- a possible fat receptor), may play a role in some people's ability to taste and enjoy dietary fat.

Scripps Research Institute team wrests partial control of a memory
Scripps Research Institute scientists and their colleagues have successfully harnessed neurons in mouse brains, allowing them to at least partially control a specific memory.

False killer whales use acoustic squint to target prey
Toothed whales and dolphins are remarkable accurate hunters, considering that they locate prey using echolocation alone, so how do they pull this off?

AGU: Small clique of nations found to dominate global trading web of food, water
It's not easy, or economically feasible, to ship freshwater across the globe.

Brown liquor and solar cells to provide sustainable electricity
A breakthrough for inexpensive electricity from solar cells, and a massive investment in wind power, will mean a need to store energy in an intelligent way.

Marker of DNA damage could predict response to platinum chemotherapy
Scientists have uncovered a marker of DNA damage that could predict who will respond to platinum-based chemotherapy drugs like cisplatin or carboplatin.

New imaging technique moves from lab to clinic
Four applications of the new imaging technique photoacoustic tomography are moving into clinical trials.

Understanding individual genetic variation can help predict chemotherapy side effects
Belgian researchers have found that it is possible to predict which patients are most likely to suffer serious chemotherapy side effects by studying their genetic variability.

Experts challenge FDA over approval for new dose of Alzheimer's drug
Approval for a new dose of a best-selling Alzheimer's drug

Cell protein interactions favor fats
A research team led by University of Illinois at Chicago chemistry professor Wonhwa Cho is learning how the fat molecules within cell membranes help the cells' signaling proteins to assemble and function.

Surgery training simulators win 100th EU award for Cardiff
Highly realistic surgical simulation which reduces patient risk has become the 100th Cardiff University project to win an award under the European Union's prime research funding scheme, the Seventh Framework Program.

Potential biomarkers linked to UTI-related pregnancy complications identified
Investigators in The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital have developed a mouse model in which a mother's urinary tract infection negatively affects the offspring, an occurrence anecdotally observed in humans.

Added benefit of fixed combination aliskiren/amlodipine is not proven
The fixed combination of aliskiren and amlodipine was approved in April 2011 for the treatment of people with hypertension in whom aliskiren or amlodipine alone has an insufficient effect.

Antidepressant proves effective in alleviating osteoarthritis pain
Antidepressants can play a key role in alleviating painful conditions like osteoarthritis and may result in fewer side effects than traditionally prescribed drug regimes, such as anti-inflammatories and opioids.

Research points to possible new route to fight dengue virus
Researchers have identified enzymes and biochemical compounds called lipids that are targeted and modified by the dengue virus during infection, suggesting a potential new approach to control the aggressive mosquito-borne pathogen.

Tax rebates boost bankruptcies and why this isn't a bad thing
Many cash-strapped American families are waiting on their tax rebate to file for bankruptcy, and this trend has gained steam as costs related to filing for bankruptcy have gone up.

Introducing birth control in mosquitoes
Female mosquitoes require energy for their egg development, which they acquire from vertebrate blood.

Evaluating the association of alcohol intake with cognitive functioning
Many observational cohort studies have shown that moderate alcohol use is associated with better cognitive function.

Louisiana Tech professor to be primary reviewer for US science standards
Dr. David Mills, professor of biological sciences and faculty in the Center for Biomedical Engineering and Rehabilitation Science at Louisiana Tech University, has been appointed as a

Live donor's age has little effect on health of a transplanted kidney
People with kidney failure may think that they're better off getting a new kidney from a young and spry donor, but a recent study indicates that for those over 39 years old, the age of a live donor -- ranging from 18 to 64 years -- has an insignificant effect on the long‑term health of a transplanted kidney.

Ancient whale species sheds new light on its modern relatives
Beluga whales and narwhals live solely in the cold waters of the Arctic and sub-arctic.

Majority of fourth graders are exposed to smoke, study finds
More than 75 percent of fourth-graders in urban and rural settings have measurable levels of a nicotine breakdown product in their saliva that documents their second-hand smoke exposure, researchers report.

Sediment sleuthing
A University of Delaware researcher found small quantities of radioactive iodine in the Delaware River, a major waterway.

Standoff sensing enters new realm with dual-laser technique
Identifying chemicals from a distance could take a step forward with the introduction of a two-laser system being developed at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Radiotherapy for DCIS still protects against recurrence after 15 years
Radiotherapy treatment (RT) after surgery for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) still has a major protective effect against recurrence more than 15 years later, according to the results of an large international trial.

MIT graduate students head to Capitol Hill to deliver petition in support of research funding
A contingent of science and engineering graduate students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will deliver a petition in support of research funding to members of Congress on Tuesday, March 27, 2012.

Margin threshold for women with ductal carcinoma in situ
Negative surgical margins should be attained for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) patients after breast-conserving surgery (BCS) regardless of radiotherapy, and surgeons should attempt to reach wide negative margins in their first attempt within cosmetic restraint according to a study published March 22 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Non-drug treatments help alleviate symptoms of treatment-induced menopause in breast cancer patients
Researchers from the Netherlands have found that the menopausal symptoms caused by giving chemotherapy or hormonal therapy to younger women with breast cancer can be ameliorated considerably through the use of cognitive behavioral therapy and physical exercise.

Pulp NonFiction: Fungal analysis reveals clues for targeted biomass deconstruction
A comparative genomic analysis of two white rot fungi whose genomes were generated and annotated at the DOE JGI was published in PNAS this week.

Journal of Infectious Diseases special supplement for World TB Day, March 24, 2012
For World TB day (March 24), the Journal of Infectious Diseases publishes a special supplement:

Gene expression abnormalities in autism identified
A study led by Eric Courchesne, Ph.D., director of the Autism Center of Excellence at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine has, for the first time, identified in young autism patients genetic mechanisms involved in abnormal early brain development and overgrowth that occurs in the disorder.

UNC part of new US effort to tackle critical global water problems
Water experts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are among the key members of a new initiative announced Thursday (March 22) by US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that aims to solve water problems around the globe.

High school math teachers may not make the grade when it comes to gender bias
Researchers found that high school mathematics teachers have a bias against white girls and their abilities to do math -- but the bias cannot be explained by academic performance.

Seismic survey at the Mariana trench will follow water dragged down into the Earth's mantle
Seismologists have just returned from a cruise in the Western Pacific to lay the instruments for a seismic survey that will follow the water chemically bound to or trapped in the down-diving Pacific Plate at the Mariana trench, the deep trench to which Avatar director James Cameron is poised to plunge.

Runner's high motivated the evolution of exercise
Runners often extol the virtues of the runner's high, but now a team of researchers lead by David Raichlen from the University of Arizona, USA, suggest that the runner's high could have evolved to motivate us to exercise as part of our early long-distance nomadic lifestyle.

Geologists discover new class of landform -- on Mars
An odd, previously unseen landform could provide a window into the geological history of Mars, according to new research by University of Washington geologists.

Mayo Clinic studies climbers on Everest to help heart patients at home
It's a natural laboratory for studying heart disease, lung problems, muscle loss, sleeping disorders and new medical technologies.

Tuberculosis international conference: April 13-14 at Emory University
Leading international experts in tuberculosis and related diseases from at least 10 countries will gather at a Human Immunity to Tuberculosis conference April 13-14 in Atlanta.

World scientists to issue comprehensive report tackling food insecurity
Next week, an independent commission of scientific leaders from 13 countries will deliver a detailed set of recommendations to policymakers on how to achieve food security in the face of climate change.

Self-reflective mind -- in animals! Psychologists report on continuing advances
According to one of the leading scholars in the field, there is an emerging consensus among scientists that animals share functional parallels with humans' conscious metacognition -- that is, our ability to reflect on our own mental processes and guide and optimize them.

Exercise has benefits, even when it's done in space
Astronauts living on the International Space Station show small effect on cardiovascular health when accompanied by an exercise regimen

Employer-sponsored wellness programs on the rise
Organizations in the Chicago area report an increase of health-improvement and wellness programs according to a survey conducted in September 2011 by Aon Hewitt in partnership with Rush Health.

Prenatal exposure to combustion-related pollutants and anxiety, attention problems in young children
Mothers' exposure during pregnancy to a class of air pollutants called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) can lead to behavioral problems in their children.

Researchers find beta cell stress could trigger the development of type 1 diabetes
In type 1 diabetes (T1D), pancreatic beta cells die from a misguided autoimmune attack, but how and why that happens is still unclear.

Childhood hunger policies should target neighborhoods, not families
Policies addressing childhood hunger should target neighborhoods, not individual families, according to new research from Rice University.

Consensus guidelines: Return of results to participants in genomics research
Karen J. Maschke, a research scholar at the Hastings Center, is coauthor of a consensus article that explicitly outlines

SURA honors University of Georgia chemist as distinguished scientist
The Southeastern Universities Research Association today announced that Henry F.

Quantum copies do new tricks
A paper published in Physical Review Letters (PRL), by Sadegh Raeisi, Wolfgang Tittel and Christoph Simon of the Institute for Quantum Information Science at the University of Calgary shows that it is possible to perfectly recover the original from the imperfect quantum copies.

Gennadi Henkin receives Bergman Prize
Gennadi Henkin of the University of Paris VI has been awarded the 2011 Stefan Bergman Prize.

Turing in style: ONR scientist receives highest award
For his research that helps computers

Noninvasive imaging can detect mutations within a brain tumor
Researchers at Winship Cancer Institute have developed a technique for detecting an

Cooking better biochar: Study improves recipe for soil additive
A simple way to remove carbon from the atmosphere is by adding charcoal, or biochar, to topsoil -- a centuries-old practice that also boosts crop production.

President Obama visits solar power plant using technology developed by UC San Diego engineers
When President Obama visited the Copper Mountain Solar 1 Facility in Nevada Wednesday, he got a first-hand look at the first large-scale solar facility equipped with solar forecasting devices called sky imagers.

Anxiety boosts sense of smell
Anxious people have a heightened sense of smell when it comes to sniffing out a threat, according to a new study by Elizabeth Krusemark and Wen Li from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US.

Magnetic field researchers target 100-tesla goal
Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory's biggest magnet facility today met the grand challenge of producing magnetic fields in excess of 100 tesla while conducting six different experiments.

Oil Palm Biomass Center Malaysia launched
Today Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak launched the Oil Palm Biomass Center in the Malaysian Parliament.

Runaway planets zoom at a fraction of light speed
Seven years ago, astronomers boggled when they found the first runaway star flying out of our Galaxy at a speed of 1.5 million miles per hour.

Trace element plays major role in tropical forest nitrogen cycle
A new paper by researchers from the University of Georgia and Princeton University sheds light on the critical part played by a little-studied element, molybdenum, in the nutrient cycles of tropical forests.

Montreal researchers repel mortality in Malian mothers
Researchers identify principal causes of death of women in Mali as they carry or give birth to their baby.

Nearly all states have taken action on Affordable Care Act's Patients' Bill of Rights
As the second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act approaches, a new Commonwealth Fund report finds that 49 states and the District of Columbia have already taken action supporting the law's implementation, such as passing legislation, issuing regulations or other guidance, or actively reviewing insurer filings.

What we don't talk about when we don't talk about sex
Results of a national survey of US obstetrician-gynecologists regarding communication with patients about sex confirm that too often doctors aren't having

New understanding of Earth's mantle beneath the Pacific Ocean
Scientists have long speculated about why there is a large change in the strength of rocks that lie at the boundary between two layers immediately under Earth's crust: the lithosphere and underlying asthenosphere.

Why WikiLeaks' bid for radical transparency failed
The scale and significance of the 2010 WikiLeaks disclosures were overstated, according to new research.

A new shortcut for stem cell programming
Scientists at the Life and Brain Research Center at the University of Bonn, Germany, have succeeded in directly generating brain stem cells from the connective tissue cells of mice.

Mayo Clinic-TGen study role testosterone may play in triple negative breast cancer
Could blocking a testosterone receptor lead to a new way to treat an aggressive form of breast cancer?

Scripps Research Institute high school program receives CIRM grant
The Scripps Research Institute is one of the institutions that will receive funding from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine -- the state stem cell agency created by proposition 71 -- to foster creativity and scientific innovation in high school students and fund basic stem cell discoveries, CIRM has announced.

Getting the dirt on immunity
Medical professionals have suggested that the hygiene hypothesis explains the global increase of allergic and autoimmune diseases in urban settings.

NIH study finds interventions to prevent Type 2 diabetes give good return on investment
Programs to prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes in high-risk adults would result in fewer people developing diabetes and lower health care costs over time, researchers conclude in a new study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Somatic stem cells obtained from skin cells for first time ever
Breaking new ground, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in Muenster, Germany, have succeeded in obtaining somatic stem cells from fully differentiated somatic cells.

Arsenic in Goldfields soil needs monitoring
Exposure to arsenic in soil and mine waste may have contributed to a slight increase in past cancer risk in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas in the Goldfields region of Victoria, according to new research published in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.

Diatom biosensor could shine light on future nanomaterials
A biosensor made of fluorescent proteins embedded in the shell of microscopic marine algae called diatoms could help detect chemicals in water samples.

Scientists identify new mechanism of prostate cancer cell metabolism
Cancer cell metabolism may present a new target for therapy as scientists have uncovered a possible gene that leads to greater growth of prostate cancer cells.

Getting in rhythm helps children grasp fractions, study finds
Tapping out a beat may help children learn difficult fraction concepts, according to new findings due to be published in the journal Educational Studies in Mathematics.

Efficient nature conservation policies require sharp focus
Nature conservation has become an established field of public policy. 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