Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 14, 2012
Recipient of first Chi-Bin Chien Award for Zebrafish Research named
The Chi-Bin Chien Award, established this year by the zebrafish research community and administered by the Genetics Society of America, is in memory of Chi-Bin Chien, Ph.D.

JILA frequency comb helps evaluate novel biomedical decontamination method
JILA researchers are using a laser frequency comb -- a technique for making extraordinarily precise measurements of frequency -- to identify specific molecules in gases.

Still capable of adapting: Research team studies genetic diversity of living fossils
The morphology of coelacanths has not fundamentally changed since the Devonian age, that is, for about 400 million years.

Power-generating knee strap hints at end for batteries
Battery-powered devices could soon be a thing of the past thanks to a group of UK researchers who have created a novel energy harvester to power some of the latest wearable gadgets.

Future Earth: New global platform for sustainability research launched at Rio+20
An alliance of international partners from global science, research funding and UN bodies, launched a bold new 10-year initiative on global environmental change research for sustainability at the Forum on Science and Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development on Thursday.

A press program of good stories from the world's leading event in reproductive medicine
More than 8,000 of the world's leading experts in reproduction are expected this year, and, from a total of more than 1,700 abstracts of new research submitted, ten have been selected for the press program.

Elemental and magnetic imaging using X-rays and a microscope
A team of researchers has developed a new microscope that can image the elemental and magnetic properties of a wide range of energy-important materials that are used in devices such as solar cells and solid-state lighting.

Gene may link diabetes and Alzheimer's, CCNY researchers find
In recent years it became clear that people with diabetes face an ominous prospect -- a far greater risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

Amazon was not all manufactured landscape, Smithsonian scientist says
Population estimates for the Amazon basin just before Europeans arrived range from 2 to 10 million people.

Guchol is a tiny typhoon on NASA satellite imagery
Tropical Storm Guchol intensified into a typhoon and is a compact system.

New open-access journal fills niche for addictions research
A new open-access journal dedicated to international perspectives on substance use and addictions research was launched at the annual meeting of the Kettil Bruun Society for Social and Epidemiological Research on Alcohol.

Childhood obesity found linked to math performance
In a longitudinal study of 6,250 children from across the US, researchers found that, when compared with children who were never obese, boys and girls whose obesity persisted from the start of kindergarten through fifth grade performed worse on the math test, starting in first grade, and their lower performance continued through fifth grade.

Researchers 'heal' plasma-damaged semiconductor with treatment of hydrogen radicals
Researchers have developed and tested a new way to heal defects in gallium nitride (GaN), a highly promising material for a wide range of optical and high-power electronic devices

UD's Lachke selected Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences
Salil Lachke, a University of Delaware biologist whose research is yielding new discoveries about the world's leading causes of blindness, has been named a 2012 Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Why doctors still rely on century-old heart test
When it comes to diagnosing heart disease, experts are cautioning doctors and patients against relying too heavily on high-tech imaging.

Sexual minority women are often victims of abuse
Adult lesbian and bisexual women are more likely to report childhood abuse and adult sexual assault than heterosexual women, according to a new study in Springer's journal Sex Roles.

Unexpected discovery highlights new role for cell death regulator
A research team based at Cardiff University's School of Biosciences has already revealed the mechanism by which high alcohol intake can induce pancreatitis and its progression to pancreatic cancer.

UMass Medical School scientist named 2012 Pew Latin-American Fellow in the Biomedical Sciences
Juan I. Fuxman Bass, Ph.D., a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, was named a 2012 Pew Latin American Fellow in the Biomedical Sciences today by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Single-track sustainability 'solutions' threaten people and planet
The targets, indicators and approaches being used to pursue progress towards sustainable development at Rio+20 are counter-productive, say scientists in a new paper.

New report estimates nearly 18 million cancer survivors in the US by 2022
The number of Americans with a history of cancer will grow to almost 18 million by 2022, according to a first-ever report by the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute.

How aging normal cells fuel tumor growth and metastasis
Researchers at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson have shown that senescence (aging cells which lose their ability to divide) and autophagy (self-eating or self-cannibalism) in the surrounding normal cells of a tumor are essentially two sides of the same coin, acting as

UCSC physicist Alexander Sher named Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences
The Pew Charitable Trusts has named Alexander Sher, assistant professor of physics at UC Santa Cruz, a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences.

Regenerated cells may restore vision after corneal dysfunction
Efforts to treat disorders of the corneal endothelium, a single cell layer on the inner surface of the cornea, with regenerative techniques have been less effective.

Hidden vitamin in milk yields remarkable health benefits
A novel form of vitamin B3 found in milk in small quantities produces remarkable health benefits in mice when high doses are administered, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College and the Polytechnic School in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Tense film scenes trigger brain activity, CCNY-led team finds
Visual and auditory stimuli that elicit high levels of engagement and emotional response can be linked to reliable patterns of brain activity, a team of researchers from the City College of New York and Columbia University reports.

Elderly prisoners need better medical care, according to report
Soaring numbers of older, sicker prisoners are causing an unprecedented health care challenge for the nation's criminal justice system, according to a new UCSF report.

Study suggests expanded concept of 'urban watershed'
Within two decades, 60 percent of the world's population will live in cities, and coping with the resulting urban drinking water and sanitation issues will be one of the greatest challenges of this century.

Chance alignment between galaxies mimics a cosmic collision
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope shows a rare view of a pair of overlapping galaxies, called NGC 3314.

ICRAF scientist wins National Geographic-Buffett Award
The creator of a grassroots environmental movement in Mexico and a forestry/agroforestry conservationist in Cameroon are this year's winners of the National Geographic Society/Buffett Award for Leadership in Conservation

Grasshoppers 'stressed' by spiders affect the productivity of our soil
How do grasshoppers who are being frightened by spiders affect our ecosystem?

Relocating LEDs from silicon to copper enhances efficiency
Chinese researchers have succeeded in transferring gallium nitride (GaN) light-emitting diodes (LEDs) grown on a layer of silicon to a layer of copper.

Making the invisible visible
While youth suicide is declining overall, the rate of youth suicide in rural America has remained steady.

UPNA researchers working to develop an eye tracking system cheaper and more precise
Members of the Biomedical Engineering research team of the UPNA-Public University of Navarre are working on the project

For future prosperity, US should strengthen efforts to maintain world-class research universities
American research universities are essential for US prosperity and security, but the institutions are in danger of serious decline unless the federal government, states, and industry take action to ensure adequate, stable funding in the next decade, says a new report by the National Research Council, the operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering.

Oceans in a high carbon dioxide world symposium
Press registration is now open for this major event to take place in Monterey, Calif., Sept.

Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference press events
The 16th Annual American Chemical Society Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference will be held June 18-20 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C.

New solar active region spitting out flares
An active region on the sun, numbered AR 1504, rotated into view over the left side of the sun on June 10, 2012.

Top young Latin-American scientists named Pew Biomedical Fellows
Ten young researchers were named Pew Latin-American Fellows in the Biomedical Sciences today by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Lessons learned from the 'ethical odyssey' of an HIV trial
HIV Prevention Trials Network 052 established that antiretroviral treatment in people who are HIV positive decreases the likelihood of transmitting HIV to their sexual partners.

Global science
The globalization of science is a benefit, not a threat, to the US, according to a new book titled

Soft drink consumption not the major contributor to childhood obesity
Most children and youth who consume soft drinks and other sweetened beverages, such as fruit punch and lemonade, are not at any higher risk for obesity than their peers who drink healthy beverages, says a new study published in the October issue of Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.

Quirky fruit fly gene could point way to new cancer drugs
Researchers are taking advantage of a quirk in the evolution of fruit fly genes to help develop new weapons against cancer.

Virtual colonoscopy without laxative equals standard in identifying clinically significant polyps
Computed tomographic colonography (CTC), also known as virtual colonoscopy, administered without laxatives is as accurate as conventional colonoscopy in detecting clinically significant, potentially cancerous polyps, according to a study performed jointly at the San Francisco VA Medical Center, the University of California, San Francisco and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Environmental factors spread obesity, CCNY-led team reports
An international team of researchers' study of the spatial patterns of the spread of obesity suggests America's bulging waistlines may have more to do with collective behavior than genetics or individual choices.

Warm climate -- cold Arctic?
The Eemian interglacial period that began some 125,000 years ago is often used as a model for contemporary climate change.

Catching some rays
Organic solar cells are becoming more efficient thanks to a new set of discoveries that alter their behaviors at the electronic level.

UNC's Saskia Neher selected as 2012 Pew Scholar
Saskia B. Neher, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, was one of 22 of America's most promising scientists to be named Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Research debunks bodybuilding myth: Growth-promoting hormones don't stimulate strength
New research from scientists at McMaster University reveals exercise-related testosterone and growth hormone do not play an influential role in building muscle after weightlifting, despite conventional wisdom suggesting otherwise.

22 of America's most promising scientists selected as Pew Biomedical Scholars
Twenty-two of the nation's most innovative young researchers were named Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences by the Pew Charitable Trusts today.

Uranium-series dating reveals Iberian paintings are Europe's oldest cave art
Paleolithic paintings in El Castillo cave in Northern Spain date back at least 40,800 years - making them Europe's oldest known cave art, according to new research published today in Science.

A trick of perspective -- chance alignment mimics a cosmic collision
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has produced a highly detailed image of a pair of overlapping galaxies called NGC 3314.

In Israel's Negev Desert, a plant called sweet mignonette or taily weed uses a toxic

Training people to inhibit movements can reduce risk-taking
New research from psychologists at the universities of Exeter and Cardiff shows that people can train their brains to become less impulsive, resulting in less risk-taking during gambling.

Link between metabolic disorders and Alzheimer's disease examined
No effective treatments are currently available for the prevention or cure of Alzheimer's disease, the most frequent form of dementia in the elderly.

Secret love cheats pose a greater infection risk than those in open sexual relationships
People who were sexually unfaithful without their partner's knowledge were less likely to practice safe sex than those who had other sexual relationships with their partner's consent.

New website helps consumers understand natural trans fats
Not all trans fats are created equal. A new website,, is designed to help consumers navigate questions about the important differences between industrial and natural trans fats.

Study finds predators have outsized influence over habitats
A grasshopper's change in diet to high-energy carbohydrates while being hunted by spiders may affect the way soil releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, according to Yale and Hebrew University researchers in Science.

Child care subsidies boost quality of care for some but not all
The federally funded child care subsidy program is a big investment in low-income children.

Researchers outline plan to end preventable child deaths in a generation
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers outline a strategy and benchmarks for curbing childhood preventable deaths.

European geneticists condemn use of testing to establish 'racial purity'
The use of genetic testing to establish racial origins for political purposes is not only scientifically foolish, but also unethical and should be condemned, the European Society of Human Genetics said today, Thursday, June 14.

New action for ancient heart drug
Researchers at the U-M reveal that digoxin, the active ingredient in Foxglove, can enhance the body's own protective mechanism against high blood pressure and heart failure.

2 warmest winter months in Midwest history may have connection
This past March was the second warmest winter month ever recorded in the Midwest, with temperatures 15 degrees above average.

Atomic-resolution view of a receptor reveals how stomach bacterium avoids acid
University of Oregon scientists have discovered how the bacterium Helicobacter pylori navigates through the acidic stomach, opening up new possibilities to inactivate its disease-causing ability without using current strategies that often fail or are discontinued because of side effects.

Breast milk kills HIV and blocks its oral transmission in humanized mouse
Although breastfeeding is attributed to a significant number of HIV infections in infants, most breastfed babies are not infected with HIV, despite prolonged and repeated exposure.

7 of 10 commuters using Capital Bikeshare forgo helmet use
Cyclists in Washington, DC who use Capital Bikeshare for their daily commutes are much less likely to wear helmets than commuters on their own bikes.

A sea of broken promises
World leaders have made pitiful progress on their guarantee to protect global oceans from overfishing and other threats.

Physicists predict success of movies at the box office
A group of Japanese scientists have surprised themselves by being able to predict the success or failure of blockbuster movies at the box office using a set of mathematical models.

Childhood obesity linked to math performance, MU researcher says
A University of Missouri researcher has found that children's weight is associated with their math performance.

Government investment to stimulate innovation in manufacturing
Sixteen major new research and development projects that will help to stimulate innovation in the UK's manufacturing sector are to share government funding of over £6.5 million.

Fragile X gene's prevalence suggests broader health risk
The first US population prevalence study of mutations in the gene that causes fragile X syndrome, the most common inherited form of intellectual disability, suggests the mutation in the gene -- and its associated health risks -- may be more common than previously believed.

Child survival takes center stage as leaders convene to renew commitments
With an unprecedented commitment that bridges the urgent need to address diarrheal disease with unique opportunities to overcome it, leaders in global health issued today's Declaration on Scaling-up Treatment of Diarrhea and Pneumonia.

Scientists sequence genome of human relative that prefers love over war
An international team of scientists has sequenced the genome of the bonobo, a primate that, along with chimpanzees, is the closest living relative of humans.

University of Southampton and Roke develop technology world first to support stroke patients
The University of Southampton, in collaboration with Roke Manor Research Ltd., a Chemring company, has pioneered the use of Xbox computer technology to develop the world's first process that measures hand joint movement to help stroke patients recover manual agility at home.

MU researchers use sensor technologies to remotely monitor aging adults' health
Technologies developed by University of Missouri researchers could help aging adults stay in their own homes longer while still being monitored by health care providers.

Cougars are re-populating their historical range, new study confirms
American mountain lions, or cougars, are re-emerging in areas of the United States, reversing 100 years of decline.

First flight instrument delivered for James Webb
The first of four instruments to fly aboard NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (Webb) has been delivered to NASA.

New report: Unlikely alliances bringing back dead rivers, barren landscapes, and farm yields
An unconventional approach that involves building alliances between groups competing for limited land and water resources has the potential to dramatically increase food production, boost rural incomes, improve human health and restore degraded land, rivers and habitats, according to a report released today by a newly launched global coalition of leading research, advocacy and multilateral organizations.

Thermal noise molecular ratchet mechanism found by researchers in the Chinese Academy of Sciences
Biased motion driven by thermal noise from a single heat bath is forbidden by the second law of thermodynamics.

Special Alan Turing issue Fundamenta Informaticae published
The journal Fundamenta Informaticae honors Alan Turing with a special issue:

Scientists dispel myths, provide new insight into human impact on pre-Columbian Amazon River Basin
A paper published this week in Science provides the most nuanced view to date of the small, shifting human populations in much of the Amazon before the arrival of Europeans.

Tracking breast cancer cells on the move
Breast cancer cells frequently move from their primary site and invade bone, decreasing a patient's chance of survival.

NASA sees bitter cold cloud tops in newborn Tropical Storm Carlotta
Bitter cold cloud tops tell forecasters that a storm has a lot of uplift, and the colder the cloud tops, the higher they are in the atmosphere, and the stronger the thunderstorms.

9 out of 10 non-elderly Californians will be covered under Affordable Care Act
More than 90 percent of Californians under the age of 65 will be enrolled in health insurance as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to a joint study by the UC Berkeley Labor Center and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Take-home methadone maintenance treatment associated with decreased hospital admissions
A recent study conducted by researchers at Boston Medical Center shows that patients receiving

Training character strengths makes you happy
Anyone who trains character strengths increases their sense of well-being, a large-scale study conducted by a team of psychologists from the University of Zurich has concluded.

How many cells can our blood tolerate?
Bioinformaticians of Jena University have just found out, the optimal value of hematocrit -- which indicates the volume fraction of the red blood cells -- can be calculated with an equation that dates from no less a person than Albert Einstein.

Homelessness linked to poor health among kidney disease patients
Homeless kidney disease patients suffer from much higher rates of depression and substance abuse and are more likely to develop kidney failure and die prematurely than impoverished patients with stable housing.

Cassady, Chen, Dewhirst to be honored with ASTRO Gold Medals
The American Society for Radiation Oncology has selected J. Robert Cassady, MD, FASTRO, George T.Y.

Stanford engineers perfecting carbon nanotubes for highly energy-efficient computing
Carbon nanotubes represent a significant departure from traditional silicon technologies and offer a promising path to solving the challenge of energy efficiency in computer circuits, but they aren't without challenges.

2012 GSA Annual Meeting registration now open
Registration is open for The Geological Society of America's 124th Annual Meeting & Exhibition, to be held Nov.

Marital problems in childhood affect teen adjustment
A new longitudinal study of 235 primarily middle-class families finds that the impact of marital problems on children in their kindergarten years is long lasting and can lead to emotional problems that contribute to difficulties in adolescence.

U of M public health researchers lead effort to find genetic proof of coronary artery disease risk
University of Minnesota School of Public Health researchers have reported two high-signal genetic markers correlated with coronary artery disease that should help define genetic fingerprints that can signal an increased risk of developing the disease.

State-of-the-art cellular analysis comes to Saxony
FASEB Society Management Services client, International Society for Advancement of Cytometry, has announced that the latest in state of the art biomedical technology and applications for cellular analysis will be highlighted later this month in Leipzig.

Befuddled by emergency birth control
The majority of first-year college students were unable to use websites and Internet search engines to identify the most efficient way to acquire emergency contraception pills in a time of need, according to a Northwestern University study.

Switchable nano magnets
Using individual molecules instead of electronic or magnetic memory cells would revolutionize data storage technology, as molecular memories could be thousand-fold smaller.

Thomas Elsaesser and Horst Weller receive the Julius Springer Prize for Applied Physics 2012
This year's Julius Springer Prize for Applied Physics 2012 will be awarded to Dr.

Childhood virus infection linked to prolonged seizures with fever
New research shows that human herpesviruses (HHV)-6B and HHV-7, commonly know as roseola virus), account for one third of febrile status epilepticus cases.

Study: Free, user-friendly 'blood pressure cuff' for dementia is reliable and valid
A new study shows that a practical clinical tool developed by researchers from the Regenstrief Institute and the Indiana University School of Medicine to measure severity of dementia symptoms is reliable and valid.

Gone fishing: Researchers' imaging technique trolls in quiet cellular seas
Experienced anglers know that choppy waters make for difficult fishing, so they try not to rock the boat.

The boys are bad: Older male ants single out younger rivals for death squad
Male Cardiocondyla obscurior ants are diphenic (either winged or wingless).

New discovery closes in on genetic link between Alzheimer's and diabetes
Research published in the Genetics Society of America's June 2012 issue of the journal Genetics suggests a gene related to Alzheimer's disease is also involved in the insulin pathway, which may explain the link between Alzheimer's and diabetes.

Study shows pollution levels in some kitchens are higher than city-center hotspots
A study by the University of Sheffield has found that the air we breathe inside our own homes can have pollutant levels three times higher than the outdoor environment, in city centers and along busy roads. 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