Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 26, 2012
Tablet computers may interfere with settings on magnetically programmable shunt valves
University of Michigan researchers found that the Apple iPad II can interfere with settings of magnetically programmable shunt devices used to treat hydrocephalus.

Caltech scientists find new primitive mineral in meteorite
In 1969, an exploding fireball tore through the sky over Mexico, scattering thousands of pieces of meteorite across the state of Chihuahua.

Stepped-care intervention results in weight loss, at lower cost
Although a standard behavioral weight loss intervention among overweight and obese adults resulted in greater average weight loss over 18 months, a stepped care intervention resulted in clinically meaningful weight loss that cost less to implement, according to a study in the June 27 issue of JAMA.

Prenatal exposure to common household chemical increases risk for childhood eczema, study says
Prenatal exposure to a ubiquitous household chemical called butylbenzyl phthalate can increase a child's risk for developing eczema, according to research conducted at the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health at the Mailman School of Public Health.

Exposure to environmental chemicals in the womb reprograms the rodent brain to disrupt reproduction
Prenatal exposure to the environmental contaminants polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, causes long-term changes to the developing brain that have adverse effects on reproductive function later in life, a new study finds.

Policies to discourage drug trafficking should account for complexity of 'the game'
Drug traffickers who want to leave the

Reaching, researching between stars
Astronomer Karl Gebhardt discovered that dark matter is more distributed than predictions previously stated.

New position statement identifies the hot research topics in Central and Eastern Europe
A new forward looking report,

Committee on Space Research honors NASA's Neil Gehrels for science contributions
The Committee on Space Research recently announced an award to NASA Astrophysicist Neil Gehrels for research in space science.

EVINCI results could lead to 75 percent reduction of invasive procedures for patients with suspected CAD
Preliminary findings from the EVINCI study show that the prevalence of

Healthy eating advice for new mothers can help cut child obesity
Teaching new mothers about healthy eating and active play can help cut the risk of their child being overweight or obese, a study published today on finds.

Reminders of mortality increase concern for environmental legacy
When we turn on the A/C in the summer, our first thought is probably one of relief.

UGA study reveals flu-fighting role for well-known immune component
University of Georgia scientists have discovered a new flu-fighting role for a well-known component of the immune system.

NTU's new loo turns poo into power
NTU's new toilet system turns human waste into electricity and fertilizers and reduces the amount of water needed for flushing by up to 90 percent.

BPA exposure in pregnant mice changes gene expression of female offspring
Prenatal exposure to bisphenol A, or BPA, a chemical found in many common plastic household items, can cause numerous genes in the uterus to respond differently to estrogen in adulthood, according to a study using a mouse model.

Prairie cordgrass: Highly underrated
When D.K. Lee and Lane Rayburn, faculty members in the crop sciences department at the University of Illinois, talk about prairie cordgrass they have difficulty containing their enthusiasm.

Magnet helps target transplanted iron-loaded cells to key areas of heart
Using heart-damaged rat models, researchers in France used a magnet to manipulate and guide endothelial progenitor cells loaded with iron oxide to key sites in the heart to enhance the cells' myocardial retention.

Lack of common strategy may have caused longer, bloodier Civil War
Lacking firm ideas on how to fight and win the Civil War, Northern military commanders and politicians struggled to find a viable strategy, resulting in a long and horrendously costly conflict, according to a Penn State historian.

Kids eat healthier when school-based nutrition programs involve teachers, staff, & parents
Programs to promote healthy eating can substantially reduce the amount of unhealthy foods and beverages on school grounds if the programs focus on a school's specific needs and involve teachers, parents, staff, and administrators, according to a Kaiser Permanente Southern California study published in BioMed Central's open access journal International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

Study challenges the notion that a calorie is just a calorie
A new study published in the Journal of American Medical Association challenges the notion that

Experts say protocols for identifying endocrine-disrupting chemicals inadequate
In a Statement of Principles unveiled today, The Endocrine Society proposes a streamlined definition for endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and offers recommendations that will strengthen the ability of current screening programs to identify EDCs.

Alzheimer's infects from neuron to neuron
The inexorable spread of Alzheimer's disease through the brain leaves dead neurons and forgotten thoughts in its wake.

Immediate rewards for good scores can boost student performance
Test performance can improve dramatically if students are offered rewards just before they are given standardized tests and if they receive the incentive immediately afterward, new research shows.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers test drug combinations to prevent graft vs. host disease
Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center have conducted a clinical trial aimed at preventing graft vs. host disease (GVHD) in patients who have received hematopoietic (blood) cell transplants (HCT).

Provinces could save millions in prescription drug costs, new research finds
Taxpayers could save millions of dollars if hospitals and provincial governments harmonized their prescription drug plans, new research suggests.

Lung nodule matching software dramatically increases radiologists' efficiency
An automated lung nodule matching program can improve radiologists' efficiency almost two-fold, a first of its kind study shows.

OUP is pleased to announce the launch of PASSit
Royal College exams are a critical hurdle in a doctor's career.

Liquid metals are in the focus of a new research alliance
Liquid metals are the research focus of the new Helmholtz Alliance LIMTECH (Liquid Metal Technologies).

Link between brain insulin resistance, neuronal stress in worsening Alzheimer's disease
Rhode Island Hospital researcher Suzanne de la Monte, M.D., has found a link between brain insulin resistance (diabetes) and two other key mediators of neuronal injury that help Alzheimer's disease to propagate.

Clot-busting medicine safe for use in warfarin-treated patients following stroke
The clot-busting medicine, tPA (tissue plasminogen activator), is safe to use in acute stroke patients already on the home blood thinner warfarin, according to researchers from Duke Clinical Research Institute.

What's the best way to treat problem alcohol use?
Scientists from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health have released comprehensive reviews of the most effective treatments for alcohol dependence, one of the most prevalent addictions in Canada.

Kids who cook hungrier for healthy food choices
Children who help cook at home are more likely to enjoy fruits and veggies than kids who don't cook, according to a new University of Alberta study.

Tiny magnetic coils modulate neural activity, may be safer for deep-brain implants
Magnetic fields generated by microscopic devices implanted into the brain may be able to modulate brain-cell activity and reduce symptoms of several neurological disorders.

New mouse model helps explain gene discovery in congenital heart disease
Scientists now have clues to how a gene mutation discovered in families affected with congenital heart disease leads to underdevelopment of the walls that separate the heart into four chambers.

Simpler lifestyle found to reduce exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals
A lifestyle that features fresh foods and limited use of products likely to contain environmental chemicals has been shown to reduce exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), such as BPA and phthalates, in a small population study.

Glucose deprivation activates feedback loop that kills cancer cells, UCLA study shows
UCLA researchers demonstrate the power of systems biology to uncover relationships between metabolism and signaling at the network level.

Study suggests touch therapy helps reduce pain, nausea in cancer patients
A new study by the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center shows that patients reported significant improvement in side effects of cancer treatment following just one Jin Shin Jyutsu session.

New book looks at hotspots around the world for mega-quakes
At the beginning of 2010, Oregon State University geologist Bob Yeats told a national reporter that Port au Prince, Haiti, was a

Duplicate spending on veterans' care costs billions
A new study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the federal government made about $13 billion in duplicative payments to provide health-care services to veterans who were simultaneously enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans from 2004-2009.

Spinal cord, heal thyself
UCLA researchers discovered that a diet enriched with a popular omega-3 fatty acid and an ingredient of curry spice preserved walking ability in rats with spinal-cord injury.

NIH awards $6.1 million grant to GUMC to establish Center of Excellence for Health Disparities
The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has awarded a $6.1 million grant over the next five years to Georgetown University Medical Center to establish the Center of Excellence for Health Disparities in Our Nation's Capital.

University of Florida astronomer reports rare case of gravitational lensing
You could say that the odds of seeing it were astronomical.

Make me an offer, say online shoppers
Online shoppers would rather receive an offer for a product or service than make their own offer, according to a study led by a Michigan State University scholar that has implications for the fast-growing e-commerce industry.

Seeing fattening-food pictures triggers hunger, appetite; the proof is in the brain
A picture may be worth a thousand calories, a new study suggests.

Musical robot companion enhances listener experience
Wedding DJs everywhere should be worried about job security now that a new robot is on the scene.

American Academy of Family Physicians joins AmericanEHR Partners
Yesterday AmericanEHR Partners welcomed the American Academy of Family Physicians as its newest member and partner organization.

3 new honorary fellows announced
Professor Francis Kofi Ampenyin Allotey, professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell and professor Sir Michael Pepper have been honored in recognition of their service to physics and to IOP.

Research suggests denser development is good for single-family home values
A study shows that, contrary to popular belief, there's a positive association between higher neighborhood density and the value of single-family residential properties.

Women with a fear of childbirth endure a longer labor finds new research
Women who have a fear of childbirth spend longer in labor than women who have no such fear, suggests new research published June 27 in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Health-care law gender gap
A new National Agenda Opinion Poll by the University of Delaware's Center for Political Communication reveals women are significantly more likely to support health insurance requirements than men.

Browsing without the hurdles
The majority of websites have major shortcomings. Unclean programming frequently causes excessive load times.

Stanford scientists spark new interest in the century-old Edison battery
Stanford scientists have dramatically improved the performance of Thomas Edison's nickel-iron battery.

New study demonstrates the role of urban greenery in CO2 exchange
In what might be the first study to report continuous measurements of net CO2 exchange of urban vegetation and soils over a full year or more, scientists from UC Santa Barbara and the University of Minnesota conclude that not only is vegetation important in the uptake of the greenhouse gas, but also that different types of vegetation play different roles.

NASA satellite spots newborn Tropical Depression Doksuri in W. Pacific
Another tropical depression was born in the western North Pacific, and NASA's Terra satellite captured an infrared image of the newborn cyclone.

Monitored vitamin D therapy safe for patients with high blood calcium levels
Patients with a gland disorder that causes excessive calcium in their blood who also have vitamin D deficiency can safely receive vitamin D treatment without it raising their calcium levels, a new study has determined.

Moderate coffee consumption offers protection against heart failure
While current American Heart Association heart failure prevention guidelines warn against habitual coffee consumption, some studies propose a protective benefit, and still others find no association at all.

Political ads by independent groups are not only common -- they are more effective
As the election season ramps up, many voters are already experiencing attack ad fatigue.

Phthalate, environmental chemical is linked to higher rates of childhood obesity
Obese children show greater exposure than nonobese children to a phthalate, a chemical used to soften plastics in some children's toys and many household products, according to a new study, which found that the obesity risk increases according to the level of the chemical found in the bloodstream.

NASA satellites see wildfires across Colorado
NASA's Aqua satellite captured a natural-color image of Colorado wildfires raging on June 23, 2012.

Translating cultures
Finding common ground is essential to the success of any negotiation but, in an increasingly globalized society, crossing the language barrier and encountering unfamiliar cultures can be a major barrier to a satisfactory resolution.

Study examines federal government payments to separate managed care programs for same patients
An analysis that included 1.2 million veterans enrolled in the Veterans Affairs health care system and Medicare Advantage plan finds that the federal government spends a substantial and increasing amount of potentially duplicative funds in these separate managed care programs for the care of same individuals, according to a study appearing in JAMA.

Sifting through a trillion electrons
Modern research tools like supercomputers, particle colliders, and telescopes are generating so much data, so quickly, many scientists fear that soon they will not be able to keep up with the deluge.

National Research Council presents long-term priorities for US nuclear physics program
Nuclear physics is a discovery-driven enterprise aimed at understanding the fundamental nature of visible matter in the universe.

Progress in quest to reduce use of radiation in treatment of pediatric Hodgkin lymphoma
A multicenter trial showed that nearly half of young patients with early-stage Hodgkin lymphoma can be cured without undergoing either irradiation or intensive chemotherapy that would leave them at risk for second cancers, infertility, heart and other problems later.

The perception of corruption in Spain is above the European average
According to a study by the Rey Juan Carlos University, data on objective corruption in Spain are higher in politics than in administrative-official institutions.

Long-term calcium and vitamin D supplement use may be linked to increased risk of kidney stones
Calcium and vitamin D supplements are associated with high calcium levels in the blood and urine, which could increase the risk of kidney stones, a new study finds.

Better surfaces could help dissipate heat
Researchers at MIT have found that relatively simple, microscale roughening of a surface can dramatically enhance its transfer of heat.

Nanodiamonds cut through dirt to bring back 'bling' to low-temperature laundry
Nanodiamonds, pieces of carbon less than ten-thousandths the diameter of a human hair, have been found to help loosen crystallized fat from surfaces in a project led by research chemists at the University of Warwick that transforms the ability of washing powders to shift dirt in eco-friendly low-temperature laundry cycles.

NIH, DOD grants to fund prostate cancer, diabetes research at UH
Researchers at the University of Houston have been awarded more than $862,000 in federal grants to pursue projects related to prostate cancer, diabetes and obesity.

Marine energy doubled by predicting wave power
The energy generated from our oceans could be doubled using new methods for predicting wave power.

Researchers develop new method for analyzing cell function
Researchers in Finland and Germany have developed an open-source software that will make it significantly easier to process bioimaging data.

Hospitals' communication during residency matching may put stress on OB-GYN doctors-in-training
Many hospitals offer residency programs for doctors in training, allowing them to complete the education needed to become practicing physicians.

The academic jungle: Ecosystem model reveals why women are driven out of science
Understanding how a species battles to sustain itself in a challenging habitat is a cornerstone of ecological research; now scientists have applied this approach to science itself to discover why women are being driven out of academia.

Penn researchers show 'neural fingerprints' of memory associations
Researchers have begun to show that it is possible to use brain recordings to reconstruct aspects of an image or movie clip someone is viewing, a sound someone is hearing or even the text someone is reading.

UCI to lead national social computing research center
UC Irvine will anchor a new $12.5 million, Intel-funded research center that applies social science and humanities to the design and analysis of digital information.

Rewriting quantum chips with a beam of light
The promise of ultrafast quantum computing has moved a step closer to reality with a technique to create rewritable computer chips using a beam of light.

Study compares effect of 3 common diets on energy expenditure following weight loss
In an examination of the effect on energy expenditure and components of the metabolic syndrome of three types of commonly consumed diets following weight loss, decreases in resting energy expenditure and total energy expenditure were greatest with a low-fat diet, intermediate with a low-glycemic index diet, and least with a very low-carbohydrate diet, suggesting that a low-fat diet may increase the risk for weight regain compared to the other diets

Genetic variant is linked to obesity and insulin resistance
A large study in people at risk of diabetes has found a direct association between the presence of a small genetic alteration in a hormone receptor and increased body fat and insulin resistance.

Social media power youth political participation
The study shows that contrary to the traditional notion of a technological digital divide, substantial numbers of young people across racial and ethic groups are engaging in

Facebook makes us feel good about ourselves
People love social networks. That's the obvious conclusion from Facebook's 900 million active users and its current standing as one of the most visited sites on the web, second only to Google.

Storm researcher calls for new air safety guidelines
Aircraft turbulence guidelines should be rewritten after new research revealed thunderstorms could produce unexpected turbulence more than 100 km away from storm cells.

VTT and GE Healthcare developing novel biomarkers to predict Alzheimer's disease
Scientists from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland in collaboration with the University of Eastern Finland have recently discovered a serum biochemical signature which predicts progression to Alzheimer's disease months or even years before the first symptoms of the disease occur.

Regular, moderate, coffee drinking may reduce heart failure risk
Regular, moderate coffee consumption may significantly reduce a person's risk of heart failure.

US mammograms decline after task force recommendation, Mayo Clinic finds
Preventive mammography rates in women in their 40s have dropped nearly 6 percent nationwide since the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended against routine mammograms for women in this age group, a Mayo Clinic analysis shows.

DARPA develops technologies for aiding disaster relief
DARPA's Tactically Expandable Maritime Platform program has completed the design of innovative technologies to transform commercial container ships into self-contained floating supply bases during disaster relief operations, without needing port infrastructure.

Experts warn of significant cardiovascular risk with Atkins-style diets
Women who regularly eat a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet are at greater risk of cardiovascular disease (such as heart disease and stroke) than those who do not, a study published on today suggests.

Seeing inside tissue
Imagine if doctors could perform surgery without ever having to cut through your skin.

Countering crowd control collapse
Physicists investigating a recent crowd disaster in Germany found that one of the key causes was that at some point the crowd dynamics turned turbulent, akin to behavior found in unstable fluid flows.

Novel radiation therapy safely treats prostate cancer and lowers the risk of recurrence
A recent Phase I/II clinical trial has shown that a new combination of radiation therapies developed at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center escalates radiation doses to safely and effectively treat prostate cancer and lower the risk of recurrence with minimal radiation exposure to nearby healthy tissue and organs.

Women & Infants to participate in national effort to increase breastfeeding rates
Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island has been selected to participate in Best Fed Beginnings, a first-of-its-kind national effort to significantly improve breastfeeding rates in states where rates are currently the lowest.

BUSM study finds gout and hyperuricemia on the rise in the US
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have found that the incidence of gout and hyperuricemia (high uric acid levels) in the U.S. has risen significantly over the last 20 years and is associated with major medical disorders like hypertension and chronic kidney disease.

NASA measuring Tropical Storm Debby's heavy rains from space
Tropical Storm Debby continues to be a big rainmaker in Florida and southern Georgia and NASA's TRMM satellite has measured those rainfall rates from space, showing where heavy rain has fallen.

Lab-on-a-chip detects trace levels of toxic vapors in homes near Utah Air Force Base
A lab-on-a-chip technology that measures trace amounts of air contaminants in homes was successfully field-tested by researchers at the University of Michigan.

New in Geosphere: From fractal-sized fragments to a large-footprint LiDAR survey
New Geosphere postings include the first use of virtual fieldwork to study faulting and other terrain data collected by LiDAR after the 2010 Haiti earthquake; additions to the themes

Clinical trial first to test heart drug regimen for Duchenne muscular dystrophy
The first landmark randomized clinical trial for a cardiac drug regimen in Duchenne muscular dystrophy is testing whether earlier treatment can stop or slow down heart damage that usually kills people with the disease.

Jeffrey W. Olin, DO, authors study that describes symptoms and severity of fibromuscular dysplasia
A patient registry is proving invaluable in cataloging the clinical features, symptoms, severity, and outcomes of fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD), a non-inflammatory vascular disease that can cause narrowing of arteries in the carotid (neck) and renal (kidney) arteries, which can result in headache, strokes and aneurysms.

New £340,000 investment into asthma and allergy research at University of Leicester
A charity operating Britain's longest-running pollen database is investing over £340,000 into vital asthma and allergy research at the University of Leicester.

NASA's Hubble spots rare gravitational arc from distant, hefty galaxy cluster
Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have found a puzzling arc of light behind an extremely massive cluster of galaxies residing 10 billion light-years away.

New invasive imaging technique to monitor brain function
A new video article in JoVE, the Journal of Visualized Experiments, describes a novel procedure to monitor brain function and aid in functional mapping of patients with diseases such as epilepsy.

Stem cell transplantation into mouse cochlea may impact future hearing loss therapies
A study evaluating the risks and efficacy of two different kinds of stem cell transplantation into mouse cochleae has found that both adult-derived induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells and embryonic stem cells had similar survival and neural differentiation capabilities.

Sleep apnea with polycystic ovary syndrome raises risk of prediabetes
Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) who also have obstructive sleep apnea have at least three times the risk of having prediabetes compared with women who do not have PCOS, according to a new study.

More accurate diagnostic test may reduce deaths
A more accurate, faster diagnostic test for Group B Streptococcal infection in babies has been reported in the Journal of Medical Microbiology.

First 3-D nanoscale optical cavities from metamaterials
Berkeley Lab researchers have created the world's smallest three-dimensional optical cavities with the potential to generate the world's most intense nanolaser beams.

Neuroprotective dietary supplements for chronic spinal cord injury
Researchers at UCLA have found that a diet enriched with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid, and curcumin, a component of the Indian spice turmeric, can protect the injured spinal cord and minimize the clinical and biochemical effects of spinal cord myelopathy in rats.

UMass Medical School researchers discover a new role for RNAi
UMass Medical School researchers have identified a mechanism related to RNAi that scans for intruders not by recognizing dsRNA or some other aberrant feature of the foreign sequence, but rather by comparing the foreign sequences to a memory of previously expressed native RNA.

Who has power over food?
Addressing the twin crises of malnutrition around the world -- hunger and obesity -- demands that we ask who has power over food, rather than question just the mere presence or absence of food.

New data reveals public ignorance about the impact of lung disease
The Forum of International Respiratory Societies is releasing new data which shows people are underestimating the impact of lung disease, which is now the world's biggest killer. 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