Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 07, 2012
Bright X-ray flashes created in laser lab
A breakthrough in laser science was achieved in Vienna: in the labs of the Photonics Institute at the Vienna University of Technology, a new method of producing bright laser pulses at X-ray energies was developed.

VCU researchers identify changes in cholesterol metabolic pathways
A new study from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine has identified molecular changes responsible for abnormal cholesterol production and metabolism in the livers of patients with a common liver condition, and these changes may explain the severity of a patient's liver disease and risks to their heart health.

Driving without a blind spot may be closer than it appears
A driver's side mirror that eliminates the dangerous

Without a scratch: New American Chemical Society video on self-healing plastics
The American Chemical Society explores a plastic that mimics the human skin's ability to heal scratches and cuts in the latest episode of its award-winning Bytesize Science series.

'Nanocable' could be big boon for energy storage
Rice University researchers have created a coaxial nanocable capacitor that outperforms previously reported microcapacitors.

Haematopoietic stem cell transplantation increases survival in systemic sclerosis patients
Initial results from an international, investigator-initiated, open label phase III trial were presented at EULAR 2012, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism.

Kentucky tobacco farmers provide model for deregulation, increased production and profit
According to a study at the University of Illinois, Kentucky tobacco farmers adopted that same logic when the tobacco companies announced the buyout - also known as the Tobacco Transition Act of 2004 that ended a 66-year-old federal farm program.

Herbivores select on floral architecture in a South African bird-pollinated plant
Floral displays, such as the color, shape, size, and arrangement of flowers, are typically thought to have evolved primarily in response to selection by pollinators -- for animal-pollinated species, being able to attract animal vectors is vital to an individual plant's reproductive success.

Reach2HD, a Phase II study in Huntington's disease, launched
The Huntington Study Group is conducting a clinical trial in Huntington's disease throughout the United States and Australia to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of PBT2 in patients with early to mid-stage Huntington's disease.

Weizmann Institute solar technology to convert greenhouse gas into fuel
An Israeli-Australian venture will use solar technology developed at the Weizmann Institute of Science to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of brown coal.

Newly identified protein function protects cells during injury
Scientists have discovered a new function for a protein that protects cells during injury and could eventually translate into treatment for conditions ranging from cardiovascular disease to Alzheimer's.

Analysis will examine safety of in-hospital underwater births
One of the first systematic examinations of the safety of in-hospital underwater births in the United States commences this month, when Regenstrief Institute fellow Jeanne Ballard, M.D., an obstetrician/gynecologist with more than 16 years of experience delivering babies, collaborates with Regenstrief investigator Michael Weiner, M.D., MPH put the tools of medical informatics and outcomes research to work to improve reproductive health care.

Photovoltaic cells tap underwater solar energy
Scientists at the US Naval Research Laboratory, Electronics Science and Technology Division, develop solar cells capable of producing sufficient power to operate electronic sensor systems underwater at depths of nine meters.

Notre Dame research shows food-trade network vulnerable to fast spread of contaminants
University of Notre Dame network physicists Maria Ercsey-Ravasz and Zoltan Toroczkai of the Interdisciplinary Center for Network Science and Applications, in collaboration with food science experts, have recently published a rigorous analysis of the international food-trade network that shows the network's vulnerability to the fast spread of contaminants as well as the correlation between known food poisoning outbreaks and the centrality of countries on the network.

Safe, simple eye test may help save lives by preventing stroke
A simple eye test may someday offer an effective way to identify patients who are at high risk for stroke, say researchers at the University of Zurich.

Element Six and Harvard University collaboration sets a new quantum information record
Element Six, the world leader in synthetic diamond supermaterials, working in partnership with academics in Harvard University, California Institute of Technology and Max-Planck-Institut fur Quantenoptik, has used its Element Six single crystal synthetic diamond grown by chemical vapor deposition to demonstrate the capability of quantum bit memory to exceed one second at room temperature.

Treatment with anti-TNFs can increase the risk of shingles by up to 75 percent
Patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases treated with anti-tumor necrosis factor medications (anti-TNFs) have a 75 percent greater risk of developing herpes zoster, or shingles, than patients treated with traditional disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, according to a meta-analysis presented today at EULAR 2012, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism.

Caribbean wins the seaweed Olympics
Coral reefs might seem to be tranquil environments but in fact a battle is constantly waged between corals and seaweeds fighting over space.

All the colors of a high-energy rainbow, in a tightly focused beam
For the first time, researchers have produced a coherent, laser-like, directed beam of light that simultaneously streams ultraviolet light, X-rays, and all wavelengths in between.

Financial mania: Why bankers and politicians failed to heed warnings of the credit crisis
Award-winning University of Leicester academic identifies 'manic behavior' in the financial world.

City kids more likely to have food allergies than rural ones
Children living in urban centers have a much higher prevalence of food allergies than those living in rural areas, according to a new study, which is the first to map children's food allergies by geographical location in the United States.

Mapping genes: Mayo Clinic finds new risk factors for neurodegenerative diseases
Using a new and powerful approach to understand the origins of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, researchers at Mayo Clinic in Florida are building the case that these diseases are primarily caused by genes that are too active or not active enough, rather than by harmful gene mutations.

Treatment with anti-TNFs reduces the risk of cardiovascular events in rheumatoid arthritis
Results from a retrospective analysis of contemporary data presented today at EULAR 2012, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism, predict, based on estimates from a multivariate regression model, that the cumulative use of anti-tumor necrosis factor drugs (anti-TNFs) for one, two, or three years is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular events by 24 percent, 42 percent and 56 percent in patients with rheumatoid arthritis respectively.

Immune system 'circuitry' that kills malaria in mosquitoes identified
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute have, for the first time, determined the function of a series proteins within the mosquito that transduce a signal that enables the mosquito to fight off infection from the parasite that causes malaria in humans.

Identification of differential proteins in maternal serum with Down syndrome
Prenatal screening for Down syndrome (DS) is still in need of improvement.

Preterm birth rate drops in just 3 countries over past 20 years
Nearly 15 million babies were born prematurely in 2010 -- more than one in ten of all births.

Breaking the limits of classical physics
With simple arguments, researchers show that nature is complicated! Researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute have made a simple experiment that demonstrates that nature violates common sense.

Scientists identify first gene in programmed axon degeneration
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School are the first to describe a gene - dSarm/Sarm1 - responsible for actively promoting axon destruction after injury.

11 integrated health systems form largest private-sector diabetes registry in US
11 integrated health systems, with more than 16 million members, have combined de-identified data from their electronic health records to form the largest, most comprehensive private-sector diabetes registry in the nation.

ESC Congress 2012 media alert
The ESC Congress 2012 kicks off on the morning of Saturday, August 25 in Munich, Germany.

Armored caterpillar could inspire new body armor
Military body armor and vehicle and aircraft frames could be transformed by incorporating the unique structure of the club-like arm of a crustacean that looks like an armored caterpillar, according to findings by a team of researchers at the University of California, Riverside's Bourns College of Engineering and elsewhere published online today, June 7, in the journal Science.

An important breakthrough in immunology by IRCM researchers
A team of researchers at the IRCM led by Dr.

Steel-strength plastics -- and green, too!
Chemists have been working hard to develop a more biodegradable plastic to reduce pollution and protect the environment.

Navy researchers seek to improve weather prediction for global operations
With the Atlantic hurricane season officially beginning this month, the Office of Naval Research is pursuing a number of projects to help Navy forecasters and meteorologists predict storms better.

Experts call for strong regulation and peer review of military and civilian nuclear programs
All nuclear energy and weapons programs should be independently regulated and subject to rigorous peer review, according to three experts on nuclear policy - Sidney Drell, George Shultz and Steven Andreasen.

Engineered robot interacts with live fish
A bioinspired robot has provided the first experimental evidence that live zebrafish can be influenced by engineered robots.

Patients taking certolizumab pegol are twice as likely to achievE ACR20 compared to placebo
A new Phase III study presented today at EULAR 2012, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism, shows that patients treated with certolizumab pegol (CZP) were twice as likely to meet the primary endpoint of ACR20 response at week 12 than those on placebo: 58 percent on CZP200mg Q2W; and 51.9 percent on CZP 400 mg Q4W compared to 24.3 percent on placebo.

Control of disease activity and biologic treatment increase life expectency in RA patients
According to a study presented today at EULAR 2012, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism, patients with rheumatoid arthritis who are prescribed biologic treatments have a significantly lower mortality risk than those just treated with traditional disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs.

NASA provides satellite views of Maryland's severe weather outbreak
On Friday, June 1, 2012 severe weather generated nine weak tornadoes across Maryland, according to the National Weather Service.

Manipulating chromatin loops to regulate genes may offer future treatments for blood diseases
In exploring how proteins interact with crucial DNA sequences to regulate gene activity, researchers have shed light on key biological events that may eventually be manipulated to provide new disease treatments.

Penn and Cornell researchers spearhead the development of new guidelines for veterinary CPR
The Reassessment Campaign on Veterinary Resuscitation, or RECOVER, an initiative spearheaded by veterinarians at the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University, has arrived at the first evidence-based recommendations to resuscitate dogs and cats in cardiac arrest.

New property of flames sparks advances in technology
Chemists at UCL have discovered a new property of flames, which allows them to control reactions at a solid surface in a flame and opens up a whole new field of chemical innovation.

Nobel laureate to keynote international pharmaceutical conference at URI
The University of Rhode Island will hold a global pharmaceutical sciences conference featuring Nobel Prize winner Thomas Steitz from Sept.

New discovery provides insight on long-standing pregnancy mystery
Researchers at NYU School of Medicine have made an important discovery that partially answers the long-standing question of why a mother's immune system does not reject a developing fetus as foreign tissue.

Study links teamwork, communication with quality of nursing home care
Nursing homes that foster an environment in which workers feel they are valued contributors to a team of caregivers provide better care to their residents.

New data suggests HIV superinfection rate comparable to initial HIV infection
A new study indicates that HIV superinfection may be as common as initial HIV infection and is not limited to high risk-populations.

Study sheds new light on role of genetic mutations in colon cancer development
In exploring the genetics of mitochondria -- the powerhouse of the cell -- researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have stumbled upon a finding that challenges previously held beliefs about the role of mutations in cancer development.

Data release from the Allen Institute for Brain Science expands online atlas offerings
The Allen Institute for Brain Science announced today its latest public data release, enhancing online resources available via the Allen Brain Atlas data portal and expanding its application programming interface.

How does dolomite form?
The formation of the mineral dolomite is still puzzling scientists.

Cleveland Clinic selected to participate in National MDS Clinical Research Consortium
Cleveland Clinic will participate in an unprecedented, six-institution consortium designed to conduct clinical trials and research to improve outcomes for patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).

(Ab)use of World Heritage Site causes rifts in Bosnia and Herzegovina
What happens when a theater of war is elevated to a World Heritage Site while the wounds are still raw?

Outstanding high school students receive awards to stimulate research interest in digestive diseases
The American Gastroenterological Association Research Foundation has announced the 2012 Student Research Fellowship Award recipients.

Nearly two-thirds of American osteoporotic hip fractures are seen in the extreme elderly
A new American study presented today at EULAR 2012, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism, calls for more aggressive management of osteoporosis in the extreme elderly as the true impact of osteoporotic hip fractures in those aged 80 years or older is unveiled.

Surgeon General receives 2012 Distinguished Public Service Award from internal medicine physicians
Regina M. Benjamin, M.D., MBA, the US Surgeon General, is the recipient of the 2012 Joseph F.

New twist on old chemical process could boost energy efficiency
An unappreciated aspect of chemical reactions on the surface of metal oxides could be key in developing more efficient energy systems, including more productive solar cells or hydrogen fuel cells efficient enough for automobiles.

U Alberta finds weakness in armor of killer hospital bacteria
There's new hope for development of an antibiotic that can put down a lethal bacteria or superbug linked to the deaths of hundreds of hospital patients around the world.

Floating dock from Japan carries potential invasive species
When debris from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan began making its way toward the West Coast of the United States, there were fears of possible radiation and chemical contamination as well as costly cleanup.

Re-defining future stroke risk among pre-diabetics
Millions of pre-diabetic Americans may be at increased risk of future stroke, say researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine in a new meta-analysis of epidemiological studies, but the precise degree of that threat is confounded by differing medical definitions and factors that remain unknown or unmeasured.

UCLA Engineering-led team gets $1 million grant to study effect of quakes on modern structures
A research team led by John Wallace, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at UCLA Engineering, has received a $1 million research grant from the National Science Foundation's National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program to explore revisions in design of solid reinforced concrete structural walls that would ensure future construction meets the high resiliency required for modern buildings.

CU-Boulder physicists use ultrafast lasers to create first tabletop X-ray device
An international research team led by the University of Colorado Boulder has generated the first laser-like beams of X-rays from a tabletop device, paving the way for major advances in many fields including medicine, biology and nanotechnology development.

Report addresses challenges in implementing new diagnostic tests where they are needed most
Easy-to-use, inexpensive tests to diagnose infectious diseases are urgently needed in resource-limited countries.

ACP-New York State Chapter partnership results in patient safety organization recognition
The American College of Physicians today announced collaboration with the New York ACP chapter to extend its medical Near Miss Registry into a national patient safety reporting and professional educational program.

Scientists find that rain may not always be a welcome thing to waterbirds
Scientists from the Smithsonian and colleagues have found that waterbird communities can be the

Mount Sinai researchers develop a multi-target approach to treating tumors
Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine developed a cancer model built in the fruit fly Drosophila, then used it to create a whole new approach to the discovery of cancer treatments.

Helping adolescents root out stigma associated with mental illness
Health experts agree that reducing the stigma associated with adolescent mental illness is an essential step toward increasing the number of teenagers who seek the help they need.

Coral reef experts to present latest coral reef science during July symposium
The 12th International Coral Reef Symposium, the world's leading coral reef science conference held once every four years, will begin Monday, July 9, in Cairns, Queensland, Australia.

Wayne State University researcher examines protein's role in diabetic retinopathy
A Wayne State University researcher believes a protein that fails to reach the nucleus of retinal cells may play a role in causing eye disease in people with diabetes.

SAGE to publish Adoption & Fostering from 2013
SAGE and the British Association for Adoption & Fostering (BAAF) today announced a new agreement to publish BAAF's journal, Adoption & Fostering, from 2013.

By adding VSL#3 probiotic to traditional therapies UC patients can improve remission rates
As one of the few probiotics with medical food designation for specific illnesses, VSL#3 has been the subject of a collection of more than 80 studies that have demonstrated its use in the dietary management of IBS, ulcerative colitis, and an ileal pouch.

Is berry picking forced labor?
Are migrant berry pickers forced laborers? Their situation actually meets several of the criteria in international conventions on forced labor claims REMESO researcher Charles Woolfson and his colleagues, who have also criticized Swedish legislation in that it is ineffective.

Vampire jumping spiders identify victims by their antennae
Ravenous Evarcha culicivora jumping spiders -- vampire spiders -- have very specific tastes: they prefer to dine on blood-engorged female Anopheles mosquitoes.

Research helps quantum computers move closer
Research involving physicist Mike Thewalt of Simon Fraser University offers a next step towards making quantum computing a reality -- through the unique properties of highly enriched and highly purified silicon.

Patients suffering from pre-diabetes at potential future risk of stroke
Millions of people suffering from pre-diabetes may be at a higher risk of stroke, a study published on bmj.com today suggests.

U of I study: Teachers may need training to respond to children's emotions
Teachers learn a lot about how to teach curriculum in college, but they don't get much training in helping very young children learn to handle frustration, anger, and excitement, skills that kids need for kindergarten readiness, said Nancy McElwain, a University of Illinois professor of human development and family studies.

The Gerontological Society of America Selects 2012 Fellows
The Gerontological Society of America -- the nation's largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging -- has named 38 exemplary professionals as its newest fellows.

Head-to-head study in RA shows that abatacept has comparable efficacy to adalimumab
Data from one of the few head-to-head trials in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) presented today at EULAR 2012, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism, demonstrates that at one year, 64.8 percent of patients receiving abatacept (Orencia) and 63.4% of patients receiving adalimumab (Humira) achieved ACR20.

Surgeon experience affects complication rate of spinal stenosis surgery
For patients undergoing surgery for spinal stenosis, the risk of complications is higher when the surgeon performs very few such procedures -- less than four per year, suggests a study in the June issue of Neurosurgery, official journal of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

American Society for Cell Biology 2012 Annual Meeting
Cell biology and medicine will be one of the two

Rice, UCLA slash energy needs for next-generation memory
Researchers from Rice University and UCLA have unveiled a new data-encoding scheme that slashes more than 30 percent of the energy needed to write data onto memory cards that use

Successful pregnancies possible for women following liver transplantation
New research confirms that successful pregnancies are common for female liver transplant recipients.

Pre-existing problems
In a critical step that may lead to more effective HIV treatments, Harvard scientists have found that, in a small number of HIV patients, pre-existing mutations in the virus can cause it to develop resistance to the drugs used to slow the progression of the disease.

Elsevier, SVS announce 2013 launch of Journal of Vascular Surgery: Venous and Lymphatic Disorders
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, and the Society for Vascular Surgery® announce the launch of a new quarterly journal, Journal of Vascular Surgery: Venous and Lymphatic Disorders.

Scientists discover huge phytoplankton bloom in ice-covered waters
A team of researchers, including scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, discovered a massive bloom of phytoplankton beneath ice-covered Arctic waters.

Scientists utilizing new funding to develop computers that help search out the new technologies
Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have begun work on a new Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) project to develop computer systems that help quickly identify emerging ideas and capabilities in technology.

Personalizing biologic treatment to individual patients with rheuatoid arthritis is cost-effective
Data presented today at EULAR 2012, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism, demonstrates that tailoring biologic treatment to individual patients with rheumatoid arthritis can reduce total costs by €2,595,557 per 272 patients over three years (95 percentile range -€2,983,760 to -€2,211,755), whilst increasing effectiveness by an average of 3.67 quality-adjusted life years.

Spin structure reveals key to new forms of digital storage, study shows
A synthetic compound long known to exhibit interesting transition properties may hold the key to new, non-magnetic forms of information storage, say researchers at the RIKEN SPring-8 Center and their collaborators.

Meditation practice may decrease risk for cardiovascular disease in teens
Regular meditation could decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular disease in teens who are most at risk, according to Georgia Health Sciences University researchers.

2-1-1 could be effective tool in fighting cancer disparities
The 2-1-1 phone information and referral system could be a key partner in efforts to reduce cancer disparities affecting low-income and racial and ethnic minorities in the US, finds a new study by Jason Purnell, Ph.D., assistant professor of public health at the Brown School at Washington University in St.

Virgin male moths think they're hot when they're not
Talk about throwing yourself into a relationship too soon. A University of Utah study found that when a virgin male moth gets a whiff of female sex attractant, he's quicker to start shivering to warm up his flight muscles, and then takes off prematurely when he's still too cool for powerful flight.

IU to host 100 Middle Eastern, North African students in Coca-Cola, State Department program
In an effort to increase the understanding of entrepreneurship and business education in the Arab world, the Coca-Cola Co. and the US State Department are sponsoring 100 college students from across the Middle East and North Africa to study in a unique program at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business.

Inside a child's mind -- Research findings from Psychological Science
Developmental psychology researchers have long known that children aren't simply mini-adults -- their minds and brains work in fundamentally different ways.

New brain target for appetite control identified
Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have identified a brain receptor that appears to play a central role in regulating appetite.

Pre-existing mutations can lead to drug resistance in HIV virus
In a critical step that may lead to more effective HIV treatments, Harvard scientists have found pre-existing mutations in a small number of HIV patients.

Parasitic plants 'steal' genes from their hosts
New research published today in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Genomics reveals that the Malaysian parasitic plant Rafflesia cantleyi, with its 50cm diameter flowers, has 'stolen' genes from its host Tetrastigma rafflesiae.

Doubling down on heart failure: Researchers discover new route to disease, and drugs to match
Researchers identified a completely new pathway activated by adrenaline - the hormone that regulates rate and strength of the heart - that contributes to heart failure.

Finding ways to feed pigs for less
Results of a preliminary experiment conducted at the University of Illinois indicate that it may be possible to select pigs that can make efficient use of energy in less expensive feed ingredients, thus reducing diet costs.

Gladstone scientists reprogram skin cells into brain cells
Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes have for the first time transformed skin cells -- with a single genetic factor -- into cells that develop on their own into an interconnected, functional network of brain cells.

Pediatric kidney expert receives Young Investigator Award from American Transplant Congress
Rebecca Ruebner, M.D., who cares for patients with kidney disorders at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, received a Young Investigator Award of the American Transplant Congress at its national meeting this week in Boston.

HIV superinfection in Uganda may be more common than previously thought, study finds
HIV superinfection, when a person with HIV could acquire a second, new strain of HIV, may occur as often as initial HIV infection in the general population in Uganda, a study suggests.

Should spinal manipulation for neck pain be abandoned?
The effectiveness of spinal manipulation divides medical opinion. On bmj.com today, experts debate whether spinal manipulation for neck pain should be abandoned.

Alzheimer's vaccine trial a success
A study led by Karolinska Institutet in Sweden reports for the first time the positive effects of an active vaccine against Alzheimer's disease.

NSF report detailing growth in graduate enrollment in science & engineering in the past decade
A recent report released by the National Science Foundation found that graduate enrollment in science and engineering grew substantially in the past decade.

Groundbreaking science at new NIST-funded complex at Univ. of Miami's Rosenstiel School
UM will be breaking ground on a new complex funded in part through a $15 million NIST ARRA grant.

What does it mean to be cool? It may not be what you think
Do rebelliousness, emotional control, toughness and thrill-seeking still make up the essence of coolness?

Highly contagious honey bee virus transmitted by mites
Researchers in Hawaii and the UK report that the parasitic 'Varroa' mite has caused the Deformed Wing Virus to proliferate in honey bee colonies.
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