Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 23, 2012
Phthalates in PVC floors taken up by the body in infants
A new study at Karlstad University in Sweden shows that phthalates from PVC flooring materials is taken up by our bodies.

Aggregating instead of stabilizing: New insights into the mechanisms of heart disease
Malformed desmin proteins aggregate with intact proteins of the same kind, thereby triggering skeletal and cardiac muscle diseases, the desminopathies.

Wearing 2 different hats: Moral decisions may depend on the situation
An individual's sense of right or wrong may change depending on their activities at the time -- and they may not be aware of their own shifting moral integrity -- according to a new study looking at why people make ethical or unethical decisions.

Research team awarded prestigious National Institutes of Health grant
Queen's University professor Daren Heyland and his research team at the Kingston General Hospital Clinical Evaluation Research Unit received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to advance research into meeting the nutrition needs of high risk, critically ill patients.

Hormone plays surprise role in fighting skin infections
Antimicrobial peptides are molecules produced in the skin to fend off infection-causing microbes.

Forensics ferret out fire beetle secret
Black fire beetles of the genus Melanophila possess unusual infrared sensors.

Researchers develop new genetic method to pinpoint individuals' geographic origin
In a new study, published online this week in Nature Genetics, a research team including researchers at UCLA Engineering, UCLA's Department of Ecology and Evolution and Tel Aviv University have developed an innovative approach for the modeling of genetic variation in two- or three-dimensional space called spatial ancestry analysis (SPA).

Viral infections in infancy are not associated with wheezing symptoms in later childhood
The number of viral infections during infancy is not associated with wheezing later in childhood, according to a new study from researchers in the Netherlands.

Scientists discover a new sensory organ in the chin of baleen whales
Lunge feeding in rorqual whales (a group that includes blue, humpback and fin whales) is unique among mammals, but details of how it works have remained elusive.

Lying in wait for WIMPs
With 350 kilograms of liquid xenon and the low background of the Sanford Underground Research Facility in the Black Hills, the Large Underground Xenon experiment, LUX, is the most sensitive search yet for weakly interacting massive particles, or WIMPs.

Prevalence of kidney stones doubles in wake of obesity epidemic
The number of Americans suffering from kidney stones between 2007 and 2010 nearly doubled since 1994, according to a study by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles and RAND.

Octopuses focus on key features for successful camouflage
Octopuses camouflage themselves by matching their body pattern to selected features of nearby objects, rather than trying to match the entire larger field of view, according to new research published in the open-access journal PLoS ONE.

New tool for visualizing the distribution of vascular plants in Belgium
The Belgian Biodiversity Platform has just released a new website

Study reveals trade patterns for crucial substance played key role in Maya collapse
Shifts in exchange patterns provide a new perspective on the fall of inland Maya centers in Mesoamerica approximately 1,000 years ago.

El Niño weather and climate change threaten survival of baby leatherback sea turtles
When critically endangered leatherback turtle hatchlings dig out of their nests, they enter a world filled with threats to survival.

British experts update addiction treatment guidelines
The British Association for Psychopharmacology has released fresh guidelines on the best methods to treat substance abuse and addiction in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, published by SAGE.

Developing bread with omega-3, and another type with a high fiber content
Tecnalia, together with the bakeries in the Otana group, is developing bread varieties with the emphasis placed on cutting the risk of developing diseases.

Make no mistake - male bosses' errors matter
According to a new study, leaders who make mistakes are seen as less competent, less desirable to work for and less effective than leaders who do not.

Major support announced for Centre for the Study of Learning and Performance
The federal Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade and minister responsible for the region of the National Capital Region Sam Hamad and the Quebec Minister of Finance and Revenue and minister responsible for the Montreal region Raymond Bachand jointly announced significant funding, in the amount of $497,816, to support a project to be undertaken by Concordia University's Centre for the Study of Learning and Performance.

Days of '1-size-fits-all' cloud contracts are numbered, report finds
Combined legal and market factors may force online companies to offer more flexible contract terms, suggests new research from Queen Mary, University of London.

NIH-supported study shows how immune cells change wiring of the developing mouse brain
Researchers have shown in mice how immune cells in the brain target and remove unused connections between brain cells during normal development.

Seagrasses can store as much carbon as forests
Seagrasses are a vital part of the solution to climate change and, per unit area, seagrass meadows can store up to twice as much carbon as the world's temperate and tropical forests.

Carnegie Mellon brain research shows visual perception system unconsciously affects our preferences
New research from Carnegie Mellon University shows that the brain's visual perception system automatically and unconsciously guides decision-making through valence perception.

Hacking code of leaf vein architecture solves mysteries, allows predictions of past climate
UCLA life scientists have discovered new laws leaves follow as they grow and evolve.

Cardio fitness levels of breast cancer patients may affect survival
Women receiving care for breast cancer have significantly impaired cardio-pulmonary function that can persist for years after they have completed treatment, according to a study led by scientists at Duke University Medical Center.

NSF supports University of Miami climate and 'cloud computing' research
The NSF announced that it has awarded ~$200,000 to the University of Miami for the application of the latest 'cloud computing' technologies to climate and natural hazards research.

Common acne medication doubles risk of eye infection
Dr. Gabriel Chodick of Tel Aviv University says that acne patients who take oral medications like Accutane double their risk of developing an eye infection compared to those who do not.

Efficient and tunable interface for quantum networks
Quantum computers may someday revolutionize the information world. But in order for quantum computers at distant locations to communicate with one another, they have to be linked together in a network.

IUDs, implants most effective birth control
A study to evaluate birth control methods has found dramatic differences in their effectiveness.

Weight loss improves SBD and metabolic dysregulation in obese children
Weight loss improved both metabolic parameters and sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) in obese children in a new study from researchers in Belgium, confirming links between metabolic dysregulation, SDB and obesity.

NASA's TRMM satellite sees heavy rainfall in Tropical Storm Bud
Tropical Storm Bud is dropping heavy rainfall, and appears to be intensifying.

Robotic-assisted prostate cancer surgery drives up costs, UPMC study finds
In one of the most comprehensive analyses to date of the cost of robotic-assisted, laparoscopic surgery for prostate cancer, researchers at UPMC found that this now-dominant surgical approach is significantly more costly than standard open surgery, despite little scientific evidence of long-term improved patient outcomes.

Quality standards for heparin further strengthened
To help further secure a safe supply of the widely-used blood thinner heparin, a third round of revisions to quality standards for the drug has been advanced by the US Pharmacopeial Convention.

Half of Americans with individual health plans could gain better coverage under the ACA
More than half of Americans with individual market health insurance coverage in 2010 were enrolled in so-called

Socioeconomics may affect toddlers' exposure to flame retardants
A Duke University-led study of North Carolina toddlers suggests that exposure to potentially toxic flame-retardant chemicals may be higher in nonwhite toddlers than in white toddlers.

Study supports urate protection against Parkinson's disease, hints at novel mechanism
Use of the antioxidant urate to protect against the neurodegeneration caused by Parkinson's disease appears to rely on more than urate's ability to protect against oxidative damage.

Severity of sleep disordered breathing predicts glycemic health
The severity of sleep disordered breathing and nocturnal hypoxemia independently predict both glycosylated hemoglobin levels and Type 2 diabetes mellitus, according to a new study.

Deterring signals: Tobacco plants advertise their defensive readiness to attacking leafhoppers
Following herbivory, plants produce jasmonic acid, a hormone which activates several plant defense reactions.

Factors behind past lemur species extinctions put surviving species in 'ecological retreat'
At least 17 species of lemurs have vanished on Madagascar over the last 2,000 years, with human activity likely a central factor.

New studies show alteplase can benefit stroke patients aged over 80 years and confirm the benefits of rapid treatment with alteplase across age groups
The Lancet today publishes two papers Online First about the use of alteplase in stroke, timed to coincide with their presentation at the European Stroke Conference in Lisbon, Portugal.

Economic power of self-employment felt countywide
People in rural counties who work for themselves may add a boost to local economies, improving income and job growth, according to economists.

New process would make anti-malarial drug less costly
Scientists are reporting development of a new, higher-yield, two-step, less costly process that may ease supply problems and zigzagging prices for the raw material essential for making the mainstay drug for malaria.

Mayo Clinic urologists present findings at American Urological Association Annual Meeting
Mayo Clinic researchers will present findings on prostate cancer risk, screening, treatment and other urological research at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association May 19-23 in Atlanta.

Reverse engineering epilepsy's 'miracle' diet
Researchers link seizure resistance to a protein that modifies cellular metabolism in the brain.

Mortality rates decrease, chronic disease rates increase among HIV+ ICU patients
The expanded use of antiretrovirals, potent drugs used to treat retroviral infections such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), has been linked to significant decreases in hospital mortality rates among severely ill HIV-positive(HIV+) patients nationwide, primarily due to a decrease in opportunistic infections, according to a new study by researchers at Stanford University.

Dollars and sense: Why are some people morally against tax?
As the US presidential election campaigns heat up, the economic debate is dominated by bailouts, austerity and, inevitably, taxation.

Children's body fat linked to Vitamin D insufficiency in mothers
Children are more likely to have more body fat during childhood if their mother has low levels of Vitamin D during pregnancy, according to scientists at the Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton.

Malware intelligence system helps organizations share threat information
As malware threats expand and increasingly focus on industrial espionage, Georgia Tech researchers are launching a new weapon to help battle the threats: A malware intelligence system that will help corporate and government security officials share information about the attacks they are fighting.

Sociologists' research study finds everyday tax talk is 'morally charged'
A new study by sociologists demonstrates how everyday

Sensing the infrared: Researchers improve IR detectors with single-walled carbon nanotubes
Whether used in telescopes or optoelectronic communications, infrared detectors must be continuously cooled to avoid being overwhelmed by stray thermal radiation.

Stem-cell-growing surface enables bone repair
University of Michigan researchers have proven that a special surface, free of biological contaminants, allows adult-derived stem cells to thrive and transform into multiple cell types.

Anti-inflammatory drugs may improve survival from severe malaria
A novel anti-inflammatory drug could help to improve survival in the most severe cases of malaria by preventing the immune system from causing irrevocable brain and tissue damage.

Who pays for personalized medicine?
In a new Perspective piece published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers delve into a series of high profile court cases testing the limits of patent protection.

Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's researcher honored twice in a month
At Mayo Clinic, the name Clifford Jack Jr., M.D., means cutting-edge imaging and Alzheimer's research.

TGen-Scottsdale Healthcare conduct whole genome sequencing of rare olfactory neuroblastoma
The Translational Genomics Research Institute and the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare have conducted whole genome sequencing of a rare nasal tract cancer called olfactory neuroblastoma.

'Obesity genes' may influence food choices, eating patterns
Researchers from the Miriam Hospital say individuals with variations in certain

Fellowship puts reporters on solid footing as America ages
After two years, 31 participants, and over 120 news stories, the Gerontological Society of America and New America Media have received a new grant to continue the successful MetLife Foundation Journalists in Aging Fellowship Program.

Warm, dry El Nino weather puts baby sea turtle at risk
Egg and hatchling mortality is higher under these conditions, which may become more common with continuing climate change.

Caesarean section delivery may double risk of childhood obesity
Caesarean section delivery may double the risk of subsequent childhood obesity, finds research published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Landmark textbook on health care and the US legal system released
The second edition of 'Law and the American Health Care System' was released by Foundation Press on May 15, 2012.

An introduced bird competitor tips the balance against Hawaiian species
Two researchers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa have determined that tens of thousands of native birds have been lost in the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, when the Japanese white-eye, a small perching bird originally introduced to Hawaii in 1929 to control insects, increased in numbers.

Top 10 new species list draws attention to diverse biosphere
The International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University released the fifth annual top 10 new species list on May 23.

Breast MRI helps predict chemotherapy's effectiveness
MRI provides an indication of a breast tumor's response to pre-surgical chemotherapy significantly earlier than possible through clinical examination, according to a new study.

New quality standards limiting elemental impurities in medicines announced
As part of its ongoing efforts to help ensure the quality of medicines, the US Pharmacopeial Convention has announced two new standards related to elemental impurities: General Chapters <232> Elemental Impurities -- Limits and <233> Elemental Impurities -- Procedures.

Velvet spiders emerge from underground in new cybertaxonomic monograph
An international team of researchers has produced a milestone work, detailing and expanding the knowledge of velvet spiders - an enigmatic, although not very well known family, with some peculiar (for spiders) social habits.

PETA, feds team up for lifesaving new toxicity test
PETA works with industry and government scientists to spare lives of tens of thousands of animals through new shellfish toxicity test.

Beetle-infested pine trees contribute more to air pollution and haze in forests
The hordes of bark beetles that have bored their way through more than six billion trees in the western US and British Columbia since the 1990s do more than damage and kill pine, spruce and other trees.

Researchers find a way to delay aging of stem cells
Stem cells are essential building blocks for all organisms, from plants to humans.

Tiny implanted coil improves lung function in patients with severe emphysema
A tiny, resilient metal wire designed to gather and compress diseased lung tissue may offer relief to patients with severe heterogeneous emphysema, a subtype of the disease that involves specific, usually isolated areas of the lungs, according to the results of a multicenter international trial conducted in the Netherlands, Germany and France.

A non-invasive intracellular 'thermometer' with fluorescent proteins has been created
A team from the Institute of Photonic Sciences has developed a technique to measure internal cell temperatures without altering their metabolism.

Researchers uncover new ways sleep-wake patterns are like clockwork
Researchers at NYU and Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have discovered new ways neurons work together to ease the transition between sleep and wakefulness.

Clemson research to advance archaeological iron conservation
Scientists with the Warren Lasch Conservation Center at the Clemson University Restoration Institute will receive a share of a $235,000 grant from the National Park Service's Preservation Technology and Training Program to improve metals conservation in a sustainable way.

New satellite movie chases post-Tropical Storm Alberto in Atlantic
On May 23, 2012, the remnants of post-tropical storm Alberto were chasing a frontal system over the Atlantic Ocean, several hundred miles east of the US East coast.

Taking solar technology up a notch
The limitations of conventional and current solar cells include high production cost, low operating efficiency and durability, and many cells rely on toxic and scarce materials.

Wayne State develops IT solution to help disabled make better wheelchair selections
A Wayne State University researcher has introduced computer technology that makes it easier for people who need wheelchairs to select one that best suits their needs.

Well-connected brains make you smarter in older age
Brains that maintain healthy nerve connections as we age help keep us sharp in later life, new research funded by the charity Age UK has found.

Internists challenge Congress to work with physicians to develop better payment models
The American College of Physicians today urged the House Ways and Means Committee to report legislation to repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate and transition to better payment models, building on the extensive work being done in the public and private sectors by physicians, government, consumers and other stakeholders to develop new models aligned with high-value patient care.

Nomads of the galaxy
A recent study proposes the galaxy is crowded with nomad planets adrift in space.

Army study: DNA vaccine and duck eggs protect against hantavirus disease
Army scientists and industry collaborators have successfully protected laboratory animals from lethal hantavirus disease using a novel approach that combines DNA vaccines and duck eggs.

UC Davis MIND Institute study shows that fever during pregnancy more than doubles the risk of autism or developmental delay in children
A team of UC Davis researchers has found that mothers who had fevers during their pregnancies were more than twice as likely to have a child with autism or developmental delay than were mothers who did not have a fever or who took medication to counter its effect.

Study shows antibiotic improves respiratory function in lung transplant patients
Researchers in the United Kingdom have determined that azithromycin, a broad-spectrum antibiotic that also has anti-inflammatory properties, can be an effective treatment option for patients suffering from bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS), a life-threatening complication that occurs in the majority of patients following lung transplantation.

Argonne scientists uncover a photosynthetic puzzle
Scientists at the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have discovered an unusual quantum effect in the earliest stages of photosynthesis.

Long-term ICS use reduces pleural effusion in patients with CAP
Prior treatment with inhaled corticosteroids in patients with respiratory disorders who develop community acquired pneumonia (CAP) is associated with a lower incidence and severity of parapneumonic effusion, according to a new study from researchers in Spain.

Females face different clock problem
A Northwestern University study shows that the biological clock is not the only clock women trying to conceive should consider.

'Killer silk:' Making silk fibers that kill anthrax and other microbes in minutes
The latest episode in the American Chemical Society's award-winning Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions podcast series describes a simple, inexpensive dip-and-dry treatment can convert ordinary silk into a fabric that kills disease-causing bacteria -- even the armor-coated spores of microbes like anthrax -- in minutes.

Researchers identify genetic markers to predict male fertility
A study performed by scientists at the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute and the Puigvert Foundation has identified a gene expression fingerprint associated with very low pregnancy rates in semen donors with normal seminal quality.

Resilient people more satisfied with life
A study conducted by researchers at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona reveals that individuals with a larger capacity to overcome adversities, those more resilient, are also the ones most satisfied with life.

Study shows how patients use Facebook to solicit kidney donations
Loyola University Medical Center researchers are reporting one of the first studies to examine how patients and families are soliciting living kidney donors on Facebook.

The Goldilocks effect: Babies learn from experiences that are 'just right'
Infants ignore information that is too simple or too complex, focusing instead on situations that are

P. aeruginosa bacteria associated with increased hospitalizations in COPD patients
Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who become infected with the bacterium Pseudomonas aerguinosa are more likely to have worse clinical outcomes and experience more hospitalizations during the course of their disease than COPD patients who are not infected, according to researchers from Buffalo, N.Y.

From green rust in Indonesia to historical sulfide concentrations in the Black Sea
The Geological Society of America has posted a new batch of Geology papers online ahead of print (May 23, 2012).

Bend Research increases hot-melt extrusion capacity
Bend Research Inc., a leading independent drug-formulation development and manufacturing company, announced the expansion of its existing hot-melt extrusion capacity with the addition of an 18mm Leistritz twin-screw mixer/extruder.

Geological record shows air up there came from below
The influence of the ground beneath us on the air around us could be greater than scientists had previously thought, according to new Princeton University research that links the long-ago proliferation of oxygen in Earth's atmosphere to a sudden change in the inner workings of our planet.

Docs slower to drop 'black box' drugs, adopt new therapies, when access to drug reps is restricted
After years of reducing their contact with pharmaceutical sales representatives, physicians now risk an unintended consequence: Doctors who rarely meet with pharmaceutical sales representatives -- or who do not meet with them -- are much slower to drop medicines with the Food and Drug Administration's

Why cutting sugar can control seizures: Scientists identify metabolic regulator of epilepsy
A new study unravels a link between a protein that can modify cellular metabolism in the brain and seizure susceptibility.

Treating pain with transplants
A new study finds that transplanting embryonic cells into adult mouse spinal cord can alleviate persistent pain.

Faculty of 1000 launches a revolutionary article search engine: The F1000 SmartSearch
Faculty of 1000 today announced the launch of a new intuitive PubMed search tool, the F1000 SmartSearch.

Older-looking presidential candidates preferred during wartime
Voters prefer older-looking presidents in times of war, according to research published May 23 in the open-access journal PLoS ONE.

NASA sees Tropical Storm Sanvu continue to intensify
Two NASA satellites have provided infrared and rainfall data that has shown Tropical Storm Sanvu continues to intensify as it heads toward Iwo To, Japan.

A new imaging system produces 3-D models of monuments using unmanned aircraft
This system produces a realistic reproduction of architectural models at a low cost.

Center for North Sea oil expertise set to boost jobs and growth
The launch of a new center of North Sea expertise today could boost jobs and growth in Scotland, accelerate development of carbon capture and storage and unlock three billion barrels of hard-to-reach oil from the North Sea - worth £190 billion.

Elusive quasiparticles realized
In quantum physics physical processes in condensed matter and other many-body systems can often be described with quasiparticles.

A whale of a discovery: New sensory organ found in rorqual whales
Scientists at the University of British Columbia and the Smithsonian Institution have discovered a sensory organ in rorqual whales that coordinates its signature lunge-feeding behavior -- and may help explain their enormous size.

Old herbicides enlisted in new 'war on the weeds'
The emergence of weeds resistant to the most widely used herbicide is fostering a new arms race in the war against these menaces, which cost society billions of dollars annually in control measures and lost agricultural production.

Mystifying materials
It's not magic, but new materials designed by two Northwestern University researchers seem to exhibit magical properties.

Calcium supplements linked to significantly increased heart attack risk
Calcium supplements might increase the risk of having a heart attack, and should be

Study shows how to keep a Mars tumbleweed rover moving on rocky terrain
New research from North Carolina State University shows that a wind-driven

Hazelnuts: New source of key fat for infant formula that's more like mother's milk
Scientists are reporting development of a healthy

Named professorship to honor cancer researcher Janet Rowley, MD
Donations from Jim and Karen Frank and others will endow the Janet Davison Rowley, MD, Professorship in Cancer Research at the University of Chicago Medicine. 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