Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 24, 2012
NASA's TRMM satellite sees some heavy rainfall in Typhoon Sanvu
Tropical Storm Sanvu strengthened overnight as forecast and is now a Typhoon in the western North Pacific Ocean.

Food, water safety provide new challenges for today's sensors
Sensors that work flawlessly in laboratory settings may stumble when it comes to performing in real-world conditions, according to researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

LiDAR technology reveals faults near Lake Tahoe
Results of a new US Geological Survey study conclude that faults west of Lake Tahoe, Calif., referred to as the Tahoe-Sierra frontal fault zone, pose a substantial increase in the seismic hazard assessment for the Lake Tahoe region of California and Nevada, and could potentially generate earthquakes with magnitudes ranging from 6.3 to 6.9.

Childhood obesity increases likelihood of a cranial disorder that may cause blindness
Children who are overweight or obese -- particularly older, non-Hispanic white girls -- are more likely to have a neurological disorder known as idiopathic intracranial hypertension, a rare condition that can result in blindness, according to a new Kaiser Permanente study published in the Journal of Pediatrics.

Infections may be deadly for many dialysis patients
An infection called peritonitis commonly arises in the weeks before many dialysis patients die, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Dramatic increase in fragility fractures expected in Latin America
The International Osteoporosis Foundation, in cooperation with medical and patient societies from throughout Latin America, has today published a landmark report which compiles osteoporosis-related data on 14 countries and the region as a whole.

'How-to' video tutorials could boost hearing aid use, say researchers
The main barriers to hearing aid use are being addressed by experts in Nottingham as part of an innovative research project.

Science magazine prize awarded to course that brings biology and math worlds closer
An undergraduate course that allows students to build mathematical models of biological phenomena -- and to experience a convergence of disciplines with potential in areas ranging from cancer treatment to reforestation -- is the winner of the Science Prize for Inquiry-Based Instruction,

London researcher calls for new approach to regulating probiotics
In today's Nature scientific journal Dr. Gregor Reid, Director of the Canadian R&D Centre for Probiotics at Lawson Health Research Institute and a scientist at Western University, calls for a Category Tree system to be implemented in the United States and Europe to better inform consumers about probiotics.

Boundary stops molecule right where it needs to be
A molecule responsible for the proper formation of a key portion of the nervous system finds its way to the proper place not because it is actively recruited, but instead because it can't go anywhere else.

Cyber exercise partners help you go the distance
A new study testing the benefits of a virtual exercise partner shows the presence of a moderately more capable cycling partner can significantly boost the motivation -- by as much as 100 percent -- to stick to an exercise program.

Healing the voice: New American Chemical Society video on synthetic vocal cords
An effort to develop synthetic vocal cords to heal the voices of people with scarred natural vocal tissues is the topic of the latest episode of the American Chemical Society's Bytesize Science series.

University of Florida physicists set new record for graphene solar cell efficiency
Doping may be a no-no for athletes, but researchers in the University of Florida's physics department say it was key in getting unprecedented power conversion efficiency from a new graphene solar cell created in their lab.

Major osteoporosis meeting opens in São Paulo
More than 700 doctors and allied health professionals from 32 countries throughout Latin America and the rest of the world gathered today for the opening of the International Osteoporosis Foundation's first Latin America Osteoporosis Meeting in São Paulo, Brazil.

Discarded data may hold the key to a sharper view of molecules
There's nothing like a new pair of eyeglasses to bring fine details into sharp relief.

Newly modified nanoparticle opens window on future gene editing technologies
Iowa State University researchers are using nanoparticles originally developed by the late Victor Lin to simultaneously deliver proteins and DNA into plant cells.

DNA evidence shows that marine reserves help to sustain fisheries
Researchers reporting online on May 24 in the Cell Press journal Current Biology present the first evidence that areas closed to all fishing are helping to sustain valuable Australian fisheries.

Tracking endangered elephants with satellite technology
GPS and satellite technology is helping experts develop a long term strategy to protect the endangered Malaysian elephant.

Helmsley Charitable Trust grants $6.3 million to University of Louisville for neurosurgery
The University of Louisville has received $6.3 million from the Leona M. and Harry B.

Key gene found responsible for chronic inflammation, accelerated aging and cancer
Researchers at NYU School of Medicine have, for the first time, identified a single gene that simultaneously controls inflammation, accelerated aging and cancer.

'Metamaterials,' quantum dots show promise for new technologies
Researchers are edging toward the creation of new optical technologies using

Gourmet butterflies speed north
A new study led by scientists in the Department of Biology at the University of York has shown how a butterfly has changed its diet, and consequently has sped northwards in response to climate change.

Study provides compelling evidence for an effective new treatment for tinnitus
According to new research, a multidisciplinary approach to treating tinnitus that combines cognitive behavior therapy with sound-based tinnitus retraining therapy is significantly more effective than currently available treatments at reducing symptoms of this common debilitating disorder and improving quality of life.

Scientists evaluate different antimicrobial metals for use in water filters
Researchers from Princeton University in New Jersey used atomic force microscopy measurements to study the adhesion interaction between Escherichia coli bacteria and colloidal silver, silver nanoparticles, and copper nanoparticles, as well as the interactions of the bacteria and the three different types of metal to porous clay-based ceramic surfaces.

McMaster University researchers discover drug destroys human cancer stem cells but not healthy ones
A team of scientists at McMaster University has discovered a drug, thioridazine, successfully kills cancer stem cells in the human while avoiding the toxic side-effects of conventional cancer treatments.

NASA satellites feed forecasters information as Bud becomes a hurricane
Bud has now become the first hurricane of the eastern Pacific Hurricane Season, as NASA visible and infrared satellite imagery revealed an organized structure of spiraling thunderstorms around the eye.

In Brazil number of hip fractures expected to increase 32 percent by 2050
A new Audit report on fragility fractures, issued today by the International Osteoporosis Foundation, predicts that Brazil will experience an explosion in the number of fragility fractures due to osteoporosis in the coming decades.

Stanford psychologists examine how race affects juvenile sentencing
As the Supreme Court considers whether to further limit sentences given to juveniles, new research by Stanford psychologists shows how an offender's race shifts people's support for severe punishment.

Asteroid nudged by sunlight: Most precise measurement of Yarkovsky effect
Scientists on NASA's asteroid sample return mission, Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx), have measured the orbit of their destination asteroid, 1999 RQ36, with such accuracy they were able to directly measure the drift resulting from a subtle but important force called the Yarkovsky effect -- the slight push created when the asteroid absorbs sunlight and re-emits that energy as heat.

Childhood cancer scars survivors later in life
Scars left behind by childhood cancer treatments are more than skin-deep.

'Personality genes' may help account for longevity
Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology of Yeshiva University have found that personality traits like being extroverted, enjoying laughter and staying engaged may also be part of the longevity genes mix that allows some people to reach age 100 and beyond.

Michael Douglas donates $500,000 to UC Santa Barbara to endow Dean's Chair
Academy Award-winning actor and producer and UC Santa Barbara alumnus Michael Douglas ('68) has contributed $500,000 to establish an endowed chair for the Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts in the College of Letters and Science.

Distress of child war and sex abuse victims halved by new trauma intervention
A new psychological intervention has been shown to more than halve the trauma experienced by child victims of war, rape and sexual abuse.

CWRU class earns Science magazine prize for innovation
Science magazine has awarded a prize for Inquiry-Based Instruction to a Case Western Reserve University class that melds biology, computer modeling, mathematical analysis and writing.

News media registration open for ENDO 2012
Media registration is open for the Endocrine Society's 94th Annual Meeting & EXPO taking place in Houston, TX on June 23-26, 2012.

Business students better equipped to evaluate peers
Peer evaluation is a touchstone of many business school classes.

Relatively speaking: Researchers identify principles that shape kinship categories across languages
Different languages refer to family relationships in different ways. For example, English speakers use two terms -- grandmother and grandfather -- to refer to grandparents, while Mandarin Chinese uses four terms.

Positive words: The glue to social interaction
Scientists at ETH Zurich have studied the use of language, finding that words with a positive emotional content are more frequently used in written communication.

From stem cell to brain cell - new technique mimics the brain
A new technique that converts stem cells into brain cells has been developed by researchers at Lund University.

Ben-Gurion U. researchers successfully test solar desalination system for arid land agriculture
The solar-powered system uses nanofiltration membranes to treat the local brackish water, resulting in high-quality desalinated irrigation water.

Brightly colored bird bills indicate good health
Troy Murphy has found female bill color reflects the health of the bird.

Relationship between social status and wound-healing in wild baboons
Results of a study by University of Notre Dame biologist Beth Archie and colleagues from Princeton University and Duke University finds that male baboons that have a high rank within their society recover more quickly from injuries, and are less likely to become ill than other males.

Nuisance seaweed found to produce compounds with biomedical potential
A seaweed considered a threat to the healthy growth of coral reefs in Hawaii may possess the ability to produce substances that could one day treat human diseases, a new study led by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego has revealed.

Slip-and-slide power generators
Researchers from Vestfold University College in Norway have created a simple, efficient energy harvesting device that uses the motion of a single droplet to generate electrical power.

No new neurons in the human olfactory bulb
Research from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden shows that the human olfactory bulb - a structure in the brain that processes sensory input from the nose - differs from that of other mammals in that no new neurons are formed in this area after birth.

Low vitamin D in diet increases stroke risk in Japanese-Americans
Japanese-American men who did not eat foods rich in vitamin D had higher stroke risk.

Sound increases the efficiency of boiling
Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology achieved a 17-percent increase in boiling efficiency by using an acoustic field to enhance heat transfer.

EPSRC announces first recipients of Fellowships in Manufacturing
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council has today announced its first ever Fellowships in Manufacturing, worth around £1 million each.

Feola, at University of Kentucky, receives NIH grant to study cystic fibrosis
David Feola, a University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy faculty member in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science, received a five-year, $1.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue his research investigating immune responses in the lungs that will potentially lead to the discovery of medical treatments for patients with cystic fibrosis and other chronic pulmonary inflammatory conditions.

Researchers identify protein necessary for behavioral flexibility
Researchers have identified a protein necessary to maintain behavioral flexibility, which allows us to modify our behaviors to adjust to circumstances that are similar, but not identical, to previous experiences.

HHMI selects 47 colleges to participate in $50 million science education initiative
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has selected 47 small colleges and universities in the United States as the recipients of grants totaling over $50 million that will enable the schools to work together to create more engaging science classes, bring real-world research experiences to students, and increase the diversity of students who study science.

The cells' petrol pump is finally identified
The oxygen and food we consume are converted into energy by tiny organelles present in each cell, the mitochondria.

Chronic pain is relieved by cell transplantation in lab study
Chronic pain, by definition, is difficult to manage, but a new study by UCSF scientists shows how a cell therapy might one day be used not only to quell some common types of persistent and difficult-to-treat pain, but also to cure the conditions that give rise to them.

UCI stem cell researcher to receive $4.8 million in state funding
A UC Irvine immunologist will receive $4.8 million to create a new line of neural stem cells that can be used to treat multiple sclerosis.

NTU and I²R scientists invent revolutionary chipset for high-speed wireless data transfer
Singapore scientists invent a new microchip that can transfer data the size of 80 MP3 song files (or 250 megabytes) wirelessly between mobile devices, in the flick of a second.

Minister announces £250M strategic investment in UK bioscience
Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, will today announce substantial funding that will ensure the UK's bioscience research base remains globally competitive and at the forefront of meeting the grand challenges faced by society in the coming decades.

The American Society for Microbiology announces the 2012 Award Laureates
The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) is proud to announce the 2012 award laureates.

First direct observation of oriented attachment in nanocrystal growth
Berkeley Lab researchers have reported the first direct observation of nanoparticles undergoing oriented attachment, the critical step in biomineralization and the growth of nanocrystals.

Pivotal role for proteins -- from helping turn carbs into energy to causing devastating disease
Research into how carbohydrates are converted into energy has led to a surprising discovery with implications for the treatment of a perplexing and potentially fatal neuromuscular disorder and possibly even cancer and heart disease.

A nanoclutch for nanobots
Chinese researchers have designed and tested simulations of a

Locating ground zero
Scientists at EMBL Heidelberg have discovered exactly how cells called microglia detect the site of brain injury - a finding that paves the way for new medical approaches to conditions where microglia's ability to locate hazardous material is compromised, like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

Thousands of invisibility cloaks trap a rainbow
Many people anticipating the creation of an invisibility cloak might be surprised to learn that a group of American researchers has created 25,000 individual cloaks.

The secret to good tomato chemistry
There is nothing better than a ripe, red, homegrown tomato, and now researchers reporting online on May 24 in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, have figured out just what it is that makes some of them so awfully good (and your average supermarket tomato so bland).

UCLA launches first face transplantation program in western US
The UCLA Health System has launched the UCLA Face Transplantation Program, the first surgical program of its kind in the western United States and one of only a handful in the nation.

Organic carbon from Mars, but not biological
Molecules containing large chains of carbon and hydrogen -- the building blocks of all life on Earth -- have been the targets of missions to Mars from Viking to the present day.

New test shows potential for detecting active cases of Lyme disease
George Mason University researchers can find out if a tick bite means Lyme disease well before the bite victim begins to show symptoms.

Knowing genetic makeup may not significantly improve disease risk prediction
Harvard School of Public Health researchers have found that detailed knowledge about your genetic makeup -- the interplay between genetic variants and other genetic variants, or between genetic variants and environmental risk factors -- may only change your estimated disease prediction risk for three common diseases by a few percentage points, which is typically not enough to make a difference in prevention or treatment plans.

OSIRIS-REx scientists measure Yarkovsky effect
Scientists with the asteroid sample return mission OSIRIS-REx have measured the mass and orbit of their destination asteroid, 1999 RQ36, with great accuracy.

Max Planck Florida Institute study: Persistent sensory experience is good for aging brain
Despite a long-held scientific belief that much of the wiring of the brain is fixed by adolescence, a new study shows that changes in sensory experience can cause massive rewiring, even as one ages.

SF State biology department receives $1.5 million to support science teaching
The San Francisco State University Department of Biology has received a $1.5 million education grant from Howard Hughes Medical Institute to support the faculty as they refine their teaching skills and explore new resources and new ways to assess their students' learning.

Funding will establish platform technology for emerging synthetic biology field
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council will help the UK's world-leading researchers in synthetic biology to establish platform technology in the emerging field with a new grant of almost £5 million.

Cedars-Sinai physician definitively links irritable bowel syndrome and bacteria in gut
An overgrowth of bacteria in the gut has been definitively linked to Irritable Bowel Syndrome in the results of a new Cedars-Sinai study which used cultures from the small intestine.

Device may inject a variety of drugs without using needles
MIT researchers have engineered a device that delivers a tiny, high-pressure jet of medicine through the skin without the use of a hypodermic needle.

A boost in microRNA may protect against sepsis and other inflammatory diseases
Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital have discovered that a microRNA called miR-181b can reduce the inflammatory response that is responsible for inflammatory diseases.

Autopsy of a eruption: Linking crystal growth to volcano seismicity
A forensic approach that links changes deep below a volcano to signals at the surface is described by scientists from the University of Bristol in a paper published today in Science.

Tiny planet-finding mirrors borrow from Webb Telescope playbook
NASA's next flagship mission -- the James Webb Space Telescope -- will carry the largest primary mirror ever deployed.

Beetle-infested pine trees contribute 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 United States and British Columbia since the 1990s do more than kill stately pine, spruce and other trees.

Drug allergy discovery
A research team led by the University of Melbourne and Monash University, Australia, has discovered why people can develop life-threatening allergies after receiving treatment for conditions such as epilepsy and AIDS.

Nanoparticles seen as artificial atoms
Observing the formation of nanorods in real-time, Berkeley Lab researchers found that nanoparticles become attached to form winding chains that eventually align, attach end-to-end, straighten and stretch into elongated nanowires.

Obese patients face increased risk of kidney damage after heart surgery
Oxidative stress may put obese patients at increased risk of developing kidney damage after heart surgery, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

GSU to lead $10 million research project to improve reading in deaf and hard of hearing children
Researchers at Georgia State University's College of Education have been awarded a significant $10 million grant to create the first national research center aimed at dramatically improving reading for children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Deep sea animals stowaway on submarines and reach new territory
Marine scientists studying life around deep-sea vents have discovered that some hardy species can survive the extreme change in pressure that occurs when a research submersible rises to the surface.

Gene discovery points towards new type of male contraceptive
A new type of male contraceptive could be created thanks to the discovery of a key gene essential for sperm development.

Commonly used pesticide turns honey bees into 'picky eaters'
Biologists at UC San Diego have discovered that a small dose of a commonly used crop pesticide turns honey bees into

Marked for destruction: Newly developed compound triggers cancer cell death
As published in the next issue of the JCI, a research group from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, led by Dr.

Routine care for Crohn's disease in children should include measurement of bone age
Measuring bone age should be a standard practice of care for pediatric patients with Crohn's disease, in order to properly interpret growth status and improve treatment, according to a new study from the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

Gene therapy can correct forms of severe combined immunodeficiency
Dr. Eric Meffre and colleagues found that loss of the ADA gene directly contributes to B cell tolerance problems and that these defects are mostly corrected after gene therapy.

Anti-psychotic drug pushes cancer stem cells over the edge
An anti-psychotic drug used to treat schizophrenia appears to get rid of cancer stem cells by helping them differentiate into less threatening cell types.

Exercise does not improve lipoprotein levels in obese patients with fatty liver disease
New research found that moderate exercise does not improve lipoprotein concentrations in obese patients with non alcoholic fatty liver disease.

JCI early table of contents for May 24, 2012
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, May 24, 2012, in the JCI: A change in fate: lymphatic vessels reprogrammed to blood vessels, Newly identified microRNA regulates vascular inflammation, Cancer stem cells self-renewal capacity is independent of their ability to initiate leukemia, and more.

A new strategy for developing meningitis vaccines
The JCI will publish research by Abiodun Ogunniyi and colleagues at the University of Adelaide in Australia, who have identified new vaccine targets in Streptococcus pneumoniae, which is the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in the world.

Male fertility genes discovered
A new study has revealed previously undiscovered genetic variants that influence fertility in men.

Gene study could pave way for non-hormonal male contraceptive
A new type of male contraceptive could be created thanks to the discovery of a key gene essential for sperm development.

Feeling strong emotions makes peoples' brains 'tick together'
Experiencing strong emotions synchronizes brain activity across individuals, research team at Aalto University and Turku PET Centre in Finland has revealed.

Exotic particles, chilled and trapped, form giant matter wave
Physicists have trapped and cooled exotic particles called excitons so effectively that they condensed and cohered to form a giant matter wave, a signature of a state called a Bose-Einstein condensate.

New clues about cancer cell metabolism emerge
Researchers from the Broad Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital looked across 60 well-studied cancer cell lines, analyzing which of more than 200 metabolites were consumed or released by the fastest dividing cells. 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