Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 27, 2012
ORNL/UTK team maps the nuclear landscape
An Oak Ridge National Laboratory and University of Tennessee team has used the Department of Energy's Jaguar supercomputer to calculate the number of isotopes allowed by the laws of physics.

Racial make-up of community impacts obesity risk
The racial and ethnic composition of a community is associated with the obesity risk of individuals living within the community, according to a study led by researchers at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

New compound holds promise for treating Duchenne MD, other inherited diseases
Scientists at UCLA have identified a new compound that could treat certain types of genetic disorders in muscles.

UC Berkeley chemists installing first carbon dioxide sensor network in Oakland
Using inexpensive detectors that fit inside a shoebox, UC Berkeley chemists are installing a network of sensors -- the nation's first -- in Oakland, Calif., to allow neighborhood-by-neighborhood, real-time monitoring of carbon dioxide and other pollutants.

Dietary fiber alters gut bacteria, supports gastrointestinal health
A University of Illinois study shows that dietary fiber promotes a shift in the gut toward different types of beneficial bacteria.

How sticky toepads evolved in geckos and what that means for adhesive technologies
Geckos are known for sticky toes that allow them to climb up walls and even hang upside down on ceilings.

Sticky gecko toes arose independently many times during evolution
Genetic analysis of family relationships suggest sticky gecko toes arose independently many times during evolution, and were also lost nine times.

'Broken heart syndrome' protects the heart from adrenaline overload
A condition that temporarily causes heart failure in people who experience severe stress might actually protect the heart from very high levels of adrenaline, according to a new study published in the journal Circulation.

The physics of going viral
Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have been able, for the first time, to watch viruses infecting individual bacteria by transferring their DNA, and to measure the rate at which that transfer occurs.

Injecting life-saving oxygen into a vein
Patients unable to breathe because of acute lung failure or an obstructed airway need another way to get oxygen to their blood -- and fast -- to avoid cardiac arrest and brain injury.

UCSB scientists compile first study of potential for tsunamis in northwestern California
Using studies that span the last three decades, scientists at UC Santa Barbara have compiled the first evidence-based comprehensive study of the potential for tsunamis in Northwestern California.

Scientists identify new cancer stem cell mechanism
A link between two genes which shows how stem cells could develop into cancer has been uncovered by scientists at Queen Mary, University of London.

Immune response to heart attack worsens atherosclerosis, increases future risk
A heart attack doesn't just damage heart muscle tissue by cutting off its blood supply, it also sets off an inflammatory cascade that worsens underlying atherosclerosis, actively increasing the risk for a future heart attack.

They were what they ate
You are what you eat, and that seems to have been true even 2 million years ago, when a group of pre-human relatives was swinging through the trees and racing across the savannas of South Africa.

Life cycles of mysterious Namibian grassland 'fairy circles' characterized
The grasslands in Namibia are home to so-called

New animal model for rheumatoid arthritis
Researchers have created the first animal model that spontaneously develops rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and is predisposed towards hardening of the arteries.

Regulation of telomerase in stem cells and cancer cells
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg have gained important insights for stem cell research which are also applicable to human tumors and could lead to the development of new treatments.

Nonstoichiometric Compounds V - An ECI Conference Series
This conference will cover all aspects of nonstoichiometry in inorganic compounds.

International symposium on veterinary rehabilitation and physical therapy to be held in Vienna
From Aug 15-18, 2012, the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria, will host the 7th International Symposium on Veterinary Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy.

New ACS podcast: Ancient effect harnessed to produce electricity from waste heat
The latest episode in the American Chemical Society's award-winning Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions podcast series describes the first-of-its-kind

Conflict between trade unions and employers about labor immigration
The typical view of the so-called Swedish Model is based on a tradition of consensus between employers and trade unions.

A nanoscopic look at the estuary's green algae
The pico is a very small unit, even smaller than the nano as it is the equivalent of 10-12.

Brain scans detect early signs of autism
A new study shows significant differences in brain development in high-risk infants who develop autism starting as early as six months of age.

Concerns over cost of dengue vaccine lessened with new study
Research funded by the Dengue Vaccine Initiative involving an economic analysis of producing a tetravalent dengue vaccine shows that the cost could be as low as $0.20 per dose with an annual production level of 60 million doses packaged in 10-dose vials.

Specialized MRI scans assess value of anti-cancer chemotherapy long before tumors shown to shrink
Studies on some 55 US men and women with potentially deadly liver or pancreatic cancers show that specialized MRI scans can tell within a month whether highly toxic chemotherapy is working and killing tumor cells long before tumors actually shrink -- or fail to shrink.

How much would our health benefit from leaving the car at home?
A new study confirms that doing short journeys on foot rather than taking the car or motorbike would avoid the death of 108 men and 79 women a year in Catalonia alone.

Innovative technique enables scientists to learn more about elusive exoplanet
One of the first planets discovered outside of the Solar System, Tau Bootis b, has eluded numerous attempts to measure the light coming from its atmosphere and so has remained something of a mystery.

Mayo Clinic uses new approach to reverse multiple sclerosis in mice models
Mayo Clinic researchers have successfully used smaller, folded DNA molecules to stimulate regeneration and repair of nerve coatings in mice that mimic multiple sclerosis.

Sensitive test helps improve vaccine safety
Salmonella Typhi (S. Typhi) is the causative agent of typhoid fever, a serious health threat resulting in some 22 million new cases yearly and approximately 217,000 fatalities.

AgriLife Research study estimates costs of mesquite biomass delivery for bioenergy use
Operating on the thought that, if it is not feasible, it's not going to be done, a group of Texas AgriLife Research scientists is studying the costs of getting potential bioenergy sources such as mesquite to the processed stage.

Synthetic diamond steps closer to next generation of high performance electrochemical applications
Element Six, the world leader in synthetic diamond supermaterials, and academic researchers from the University of Warwick's Departments of Chemistry and Physics, have demonstrated the key factors that determine the electrochemical properties of metal-like boron-doped synthetic diamond.

New way of probing exoplanet atmospheres
For the first time a new technique has allowed astronomers to study the atmosphere of an exoplanet in detail -- even though it does not pass in front of its parent star.

Ancient human ancestors had unique diet, according to study involving CU Boulder
When it came to eating, an upright, 2-million-year-old African hominid had a diet unlike virtually all other known human ancestors, says a study led by the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and involving the University of Colorado Boulder.

AgriLife Research zeroes in on potato disease insect
Do potato psyllids migrate from one location to the next, starting in northern Mexico and moving northward as the potato season progresses, or are psyllid populations local?

Finding brings scientists 1 step closer to Parkinson's drug
The Van Andel Institute announces that researchers at Lund University in Sweden have published a study detailing how Parkinson's disease spreads through the brain.

Harnessing the Materials Genome Conference
This conference will bring scientists and engineers together to discuss the state-of-the-art development on all three fronts of the Materials Innovation Infrastructure.

New planet-weighing technique found
Although there have been about 800 extra-solar planets discovered so far in our galaxy, the precise masses of the majority of them are still unknown, as the most-common planet-finding technique provides only a general idea of an object's mass.

Parkinson's disease gene identified with help of Mennonite family: UBC-VCH research
An international team led by human genetic researchers at the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health has identified the latest gene associated with typical late-onset Lewy body Parkinson's disease, with the help of a Canadian Mennonite family of Dutch-German-Russian ancestry.

How sticky toepads evolved in geckos and what that means for adhesive technologies
Geckos are known for sticky toes that allow them to climb up walls and even hang upside down on ceilings.

Standing for long periods during pregnancy may curb fetal growth
Standing for long periods during pregnancy may curb the growth of the developing fetus, suggests research published online in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Silicon Valley Energy Summit 2012
This one-day conference on economical and sustainable energy use will be attended by hundreds of investors, government officials, researchers and energy systems managers.

Stem cells can beat back diabetes: UBC research
Scientists at the University of British Columbia and BetaLogics have reversed diabetes in mice using stem cells.

Diet rich in vegetables may help stave off acute pancreatitis
A diet rich in vegetables could help stave off the development of the serious condition acute pancreatitis, suggests a large study published online in the journal Gut.

Palladium-gold nanoparticles clean TCE a billion times faster than iron filings
In the first side-by-side tests of a half-dozen palladium- and iron-based catalysts for cleaning up the carcinogen TCE, Rice University scientists have found that palladium destroys TCE far faster than iron -- up to a billion times faster in some cases.

Rare Earth Minerals/Metals - Sustainable Technologies for the Future Conference
The conference will address the multi-disciplinary nature of REE processing and will attempt to bring together those who have expertise in specific aspects of REE mineralogy, physical and physicochemical separation, digestion, extraction, interfacial and bulk diffusion, novel chemical/reagents, waste water treatment/recycling and other technologies related to REE purification and extraction.

Diet of early human relative Australopithecus shows surprises, says Texas A&M researcher
Australopithecus sediba, believed to be an early relative of modern-day humans, enjoyed a diet of leaves, fruits, nuts, and bark, which meant they probably lived in a more wooded environment than is generally thought, a surprising find published in the current issue of Nature magazine by an international team of researchers that includes a Texas A&M University anthropologist.

Math goes to the movies
Dr. Robert Bridson of the University of British Columbia will talk about the math and physics behind a broad range of 3-D special effects used in movies and computer animations at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis from 6:15-7:15 p.m. on Wednesday, July 11.

New technique controls crystalline structure of titanium dioxide
Researchers have developed a new technique for controlling the crystalline structure of titanium dioxide at room temperature.

Half of inhaled diesel soot gets stuck in the lungs
The exhaust from diesel-fueled vehicles, wood fires and coal-driven power stations contains small particles of soot that flow out into the atmosphere.

Scientists measure soot particles in flight
For the first time, air-polluting soot particles have been imaged in flight down to nanometer resolution.

Obese appendectomy patients have fewer complications with minimally invasive operations
Obese patients who have their appendixes removed via a minimally invasive surgical procedure fare better.

Picking the pig with the perfect pins
Video motion capture is being used by experts at Newcastle University to identify the early signs of lameness in pigs.

Lawrence Livermore researcher delve into airborne particulates
For the first time, Lawrence Livermore researchers and international collaborators have peered into the makeup of complex airborne particulate matter so small that it can be transported into human lungs -- usually without a trace.

New second-line drug for Type 2 diabetes results in less hypoglycemia, less weight gain and perhaps less cardiovascular risk for patients
A new drug could offer significant advantages over existing treatments for Type 2 diabetes patients who don't respond to metformin, the most commonly prescribed initial drug treatment for the disease.

Biological and Pharmaceutical Complex Fluids Conference
This meeting, the first of its kind, will focus on bringing together a wide range of multidisciplinary groups from academia and industry with a view to discussing key challenges, recent developments, and future trends in characterization of biological complex fluids.

NASA observes the Waldo Canyon Fire, Colorado
NASA satellites continue to provide coverage of the smoke and heat signatures generated from wildfires raging in the western United States.

Study examines how parenthood affects gay couples' health, HIV risk
Gay parents face many of the same challenges as straight parents when it comes to sex and intimacy after having children, according to a new study of gay fathers published in the journal Couple and Family Psychology.

When does a headache need an engineer to fix it?
Engineers at the University of Akron are bringing new diagnostics and expertise in biofluid mechanics to help doctors, and their patients with Chiari malformation.

50 Years of Watershed Modeling -- Past, Present and Future
The overall goal of this conference is to bring experts and students together to discuss and explore the evolution and future developments of watershed modeling.

Smartphones have increased use of social media and computer games
Over 60 percent of Swedish young people today have a smartphone, and in addition to telephoning and messaging, they use them to communicate via social media and e-mail, and to play games.

Debby now exiting Florida's east coast, disorganized on satellite imagery
Debby has tracked across Florida from the Gulf coast to the Atlantic coast, and the interaction with land has taken its toll on the storm's organization.

New drug dramatically improves survival in Hodgkin lymphoma patients
A new cancer drug with remarkably few side effects is dramatically improving survival in Hodgkin lymphoma patients who fail other treatments and are nearly out of options.

Elephant movement can provide objective measure of seasonal boundaries
Elephant movement in response to changes in rainfall patterns can be used to determine biologically relevant boundaries between seasons, as opposed to commonly used arbitrary definitions of seasons.

Probing the roots of depression by tracking serotonin regulation at a new level
An interdisciplinary team of scientists have successfully tagged a protein that regulates the neurotransmitter serotonin with tiny fluorescent beads, allowing them to track the movements of individual molecules for the first time.

A step toward minute factories that produce medicine inside the body
Scientists are reporting an advance toward treating disease with minute capsules containing not drugs -- but the DNA and other biological machinery for making the drug.

Ability to estimate quantity increases in first 30 years of life
One of the basic elements of cognition -- the ability to estimate quantities -- grows more precise across the first 30 years or more of a person's life, according to researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health.

US research vessel winds down visit to Vietnam as part of joint oceanographic research program
U.S. scientists and Vietnamese researchers will discuss coastal ocean circulation and land-ocean environmental trends this week as the R/V Roger Revelle, an auxiliary general purpose oceanographic research vessel, continues its nine-day port call in the city of Da Nang.

Smoking, head injury, pesticide use may be risk factors for rare sleep disorder
Smoking, head injury, pesticide exposure, farming and less education may be risk factors for a rare sleep disorder that causes people to kick or punch during sleep, according to a study published in the June 27, 2012, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Menopausal women could 'work out' their hot flashes
Menopausal women who exercise may experience fewer hot flashes in the 24 hours following physical activity, according to health researchers.

Pressure testing of new Alvin Personnel Sphere successful
The human-occupied submersible Alvin reached a major milestone in its upgrade project on June 22 when its new titanium personnel sphere successfully completed pressure testing, reports the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the vehicle's operator.

TB treatment paradox: Mouse studies show body's own response helps TB bacteria survive
Inhibiting a key immune response in mice during initial multi-drug treatment for tuberculosis could -- paradoxically -- shorten treatment time for the highly contagious lung infection according to new research from Johns Hopkins Children's Center and the Center for TB Research.

Lifespan/Tufts/Brown Center for AIDS Research renewed with $8.5 million NIH grant
The Lifespan/Tufts/Brown Center for AIDS Research has received an $8.5 million, five-year renewal grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Dying trees in Southwest set stage for erosion, water loss in Colorado River
New research concludes that a one-two punch of drought and mountain pine beetle attacks are the primary forces that have killed more than 2.5 million acres of pinyon pine and juniper trees in the American Southwest during the past 15 years, setting the stage for further ecological disruption -- including more water loss in the Colorado River basin.

Exercise is key in the fight against Alzheimer's disease
In a recent Journal of Biological Chemistry

Social issues in teen years can hurt future health
A study shows a correlation between peer problems in adolescence and metabolic syndrome in adulthood.

Patient care by residents is as good as by fully qualified doctors
Medical residents are an essential part of the hospital workforce.

New screening test to help people with hearing loss in China
The University of Southampton has developed a new hearing screening test which could help the estimated 100 million people suffering from hearing loss in China.

New vaccine for nicotine addiction
Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College have developed and successfully tested in mice an innovative vaccine to treat nicotine addiction.

New treatment protocol extends survival in some cases of once inoperable pancreatic cancer
A Journal of the American College of Surgeons study reports on a comprehensive treatment strategy that increases long-term survival in some patients with a formerly inoperable pancreatic cancer.

Mining cleanup benefits from Texas A&M expertise
When Atlantic Richfield Co. was tasked with cleaning up a major superfund site it had purchased in Montana, Dr.

Space tornadoes power the atmosphere of the sun
Mathematicians at the University of Sheffield, as part of an international team, have discovered tornadoes in space which could hold the key to power the atmosphere of the Sun to millions of kelvin.

Success of fertility treatment may approach natural birth rate
A groundbreaking study of nearly 250,000 US women reveals live birth rates approaching natural fertility can be achieved using assisted reproductive technology, where eggs are removed from a woman's ovaries, combined with sperm and then returned to the woman's body.

Efforts to develop new drugs that hopefully will never be used
Concerns about terrorist attacks, the prospect of a rogue nation using nuclear weapons and the Fukushima power plant accident in Japan are fostering efforts to develop a new family of drugs that everyone hopes will never be used, according to an article in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News, the weekly news magazine of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

The eyes reveal more than we might think -- research findings from Psychological Science
Our eyes don't just take in the world around us, they can also reflect our emotional state, influence our memories, and provide clues about the way we think.

Science with impact
Plant and animal scientists are working together to meet the challenges of climate change.

After child dies, mom's risk of early death skyrockets: study
In the first two years following the death of a child, there is a 133 percent increase in the risk of the mother dying, a new study from the University of Notre Dame shows.

New mechanism of bacterial pathogenesis discovered
Scientists have identified a new mechanism of bacterial pathogenesis. The results of the research project, partly funded by the Academy of Finland, have been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Scripps Research Institute scientists find easier way to make new drug compounds
Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute have developed a powerful new technique for manipulating the building-block molecules of organic chemistry.

Unique program bringing electronic medical record data to ambulances lauded
The nation's first and only program linking paramedics in the field to patients' preexisting health information -- enabling emergency workers to make more informed treatment decisions and to transport patients to the most appropriate facility -- has been recognized by the prestigious Computerworld Honors Program.

Oligonucleotide Delivery: Biology, Engineering and Development Conference
Oligonucleotide technologies, such as siRNA, tap into endogenous, highly conserved and specific catalytic mechanisms to efficiently regulate gene expression.

Building a better Rift Valley fever vaccine
Researchers have significantly improved an existing experimental vaccine for Rift Valley fever virus, making possible the development of a more effective defense against the dangerous mosquito-borne pathogen.

Most new pesticides have roots in natural substances
Scientists who search for new pesticides for use in humanity's battle of the bugs and other threats to the food supply have been learning lessons from Mother Nature, according to a new analysis.

Toronto cosmologist on award-winning team that established universe's age, geometry and contents
NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe has transformed the science of cosmology by establishing the age, geometry and contents of the universe with astonishing precision -- an accomplishment that was recognized last week with the 2012 Gruber Cosmology Prize.

Successful transplant of patient-derived stem cells into mice with muscular dystrophy
Stem cells from patients with a rare form of muscular dystrophy have been successfully transplanted into mice affected by the same form of dystrophy, according to a new study published today in Science Translational Medicine.

EARTH: 5 outstanding questions in Earth science
What are today's biggest unanswered questions in earth science? In the July issue of EARTH Magazine, experts from a variety of disciplines weigh in on what they consider to be the biggest unsolved mysteries across the geosciences and how they think we may solve them.

EMBO Gold Medal 2012 awarded to Jiri Friml
EMBO today announced Jiri Friml of the Department of Plant Systems Biology, VIB and Ghent University, Belgium, and Central European Institute of Technology, University Brno, Czech Republic, as the winner of the 2012 EMBO Gold Medal.

X-ray vision exposes aerosol structures
Researchers at the US Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have captured the most detailed images to date of airborne soot particles, a key contributor to global warming and a health hazard. 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