Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 03, 2012
Urban groups help women but no effect on perinatal outcomes in Mumbai
In this week's PLoS Medicine, David Osrin of the UCL Institute of Child Health, UK and colleagues report findings from a cluster-randomized trial conducted in Mumbai slums that aimed to evaluate whether facilitator-supported women's groups could improve perinatal outcomes.

Researchers moving towards ending threat of West Nile virus
Mosquitoes are buzzing once again, and with that comes the threat of West Nile virus.

Researchers develop an artificial cerebellum than enables robotic human-like object handling
Researchers are developing a robotic system with ability to predict the specific action or movement that they should perform when handling an object.

Counting carbon: Pre-industrial emissions make a difference
When evaluating the historic contributions made by different countries to the greenhouse gasses found in Earth's atmosphere, calculations generally go back no further than the year 1840.

New method knocks out stubborn electron problem
A newly published article in Physical Review Letters eliminates one of the top unsolved theoretical problems in chemical physics as ranked by the National Research Council in 1995.

Cutting calories might help you live longer, but not without increased physical activity
Investigators reporting in the July 3 issue of the Cell Press journal Cell Metabolism have found that in flies, dietary restriction causes enhanced fat metabolism in the muscle and increased physical activity, both of which are critical for extending lifespan.

New drug prospect offers hope against hookworm infections
A drug candidate that is nearing clinical trials against a Latin American parasite is showing additional promise as a cure for hookworm, one of the most widespread and insidious parasites afflicting developing nations, according to a collaborative study at UCSF and Yale University.

Online technology spurs education reform, expansion of Arizona State's 'global classroom' to Europe
Arizona State University has launched an educational pilot project -- a global classroom -- with Leuphana University in Germany, laying the groundwork for an intensive institutional collaboration in undergraduate science education.

What's cooking? The UK's potential food crisis
UK consumers could face dramatically reduced food choices in the future unless much more is done to cut greenhouse gas emissions, a hard-hitting University of Manchester report warns.

Researchers closer to understanding how proteins regulate immune system
Researchers in the biological sciences department in the Faculty of Science at the University of Calgary have revealed how white blood cells move to infection or inflammation in the body; findings which could help lead to developing drug therapies for immune system disorders.

ASU receives prestigious $6.25 million multi-disciplinary research award from Department of Defense
Arizona State University professor Hao Yan, an innovator in the field of nanotechnology, has been selected to receive a five-year, $6.25 million basic research award under the Department of Defense's (DoD) Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program.

€526 million: Record investment in German particle accelerator FAIR
German Parliamentary State Secretary Helge Braun presented project organizers with a €526 million investment commitment -- the highest sum that Germany's Federal Ministry of Education and Research has ever awarded to a research project.

Amniotic fluid yields alternatives to embryonic stem cells
Stem cells found in amniotic fluid can be transformed into a more versatile state similar to embryonic stem cells, according to a study published today in the journal Molecular Therapy.

Outstanding science and mathematics teachers receive Presidential Awards
Recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) came to Washington, D.C., on June 25 for a week of recognition activities and professional development.

Following the genomic pathways to stop the spread of cancer
Genetics Society of America's Model Organisms to Human Biology: Cancer Genetics meeting highlighted the role of pathways, gene regulatory networks, in the spread of cancer.

Diving shrews -- heat before you leap
How does the world's smallest mammalian diver survive icy waters to catch its prey?

5 or more cups of coffee a day reduce the chance of IVF success by around 50 percent
Women who drink five or more cups of coffee a day severely reduce their chance of success from IVF treatment.

Some diabetes drugs may increase risk of bladder cancer
An increased risk of bladder cancer is linked to the use of pioglitazone, a medication commonly used to treat Type 2 diabetes, according to a new study published in CMAJ.

Study sheds light on pregnancy complications and overturns common belief
A study led by Hospital for Special Surgery researchers has demonstrated that women who have a specific type of antibody that interferes with blood vessel function are at risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes and that other antibodies in the same family thought to cause pregnancy complications do not put women at risk.

Rate of community-onset MRSA infections appears to be on the decline
In analysis that included more than 9 million US Department of Defense nonactive and active duty personnel, the rates of both community-onset and hospital-onset methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia decreased from 2005 to 2010, while the proportion of community-onset skin and soft tissue infections due to MRSA has more recently declined, according to a study in the July 4 issue of JAMA.

23andMe discovers surprising genetic connections between breast size and breast cancer
23andMe identified seven SNPs significantly associated with breast size, including three SNPs also correlated with breast cancer.

Why society is a complex matter
Society is complicated. However, the new book

New animal model may lead to treatments for common liver disease
Scientists at Texas Biomed have developed the laboratory opossum as a new animal model to study the most common liver disease in the nation -- afflicting up to 15 million Americans -- and for which there is no cure.

Unvaccinated children rather than lack of effective vaccines is hindering the elimination of polio in Pakistan and Afghanistan
Too few children have received sufficient doses of vaccine to wipe out polio in Pakistan and Afghanistan, two of only three countries in the world where endemic polio has yet to be eliminated, according to new research published online first in the Lancet.

Researchers from Penn, Michigan and Duke study how cooperation can trump competition in monkeys
Being the top dog-- or, in this case, the top gelada monkey-- is even better if the alpha male is willing to concede at times to subordinates, according to a study by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Michigan and Duke University.

Solar power from plastic foils
KIT intensifies printable organic solar cell research. A group of researchers headed by Dr.

The big sleep
How do you anesthetize a hippopotamus? Difficulties are posed not only by the undesirability of approaching waking animals but also by hippos' unique skin morphology and by the animals' sensitivity to standard anesthetic methods.

A geyser of hot gas flowing from a star
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured a new image of Herbig-Haro 110, a geyser of hot gas flowing from a newborn star.

2 species fused to give rise to plant pest
A fungal species native to Iran which attacks grasses is the result of natural hybridization that occurred just a few hundred years ago.

Bees can 'turn back time,' reverse brain aging
Scientists at Arizona State University have discovered that older honey bees effectively reverse brain aging when they take on nest responsibilities typically handled by much younger bees.

All Things Research 2012 roundtable discussion
All Things Research 2012 is an on-the-record, roundtable discussion on the state of US science, technology and innovation with experts from leading research universities.

$1.6 million for sustainability
On June 26, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) announced that Concordia had received $ 1,643,700 in support of research and training via an Institute in Water, Energy and Sustainability at Concordia University.

EPSRC congratulates Sir John Armitt on inaugural Major Projects Award
Sir John Armitt CBE, Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority and former Chair of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, has been honored as the first recipient of the Royal Academy of Engineering's Major Projects Award.

The EU underpays Madagascar for access to fish: UBC research
Unfair and exploitative political agreements allow Europeans to eat fish from the plates of developing countries, according to a study led by University of British Columbia researchers.

UAVForge reveals challenge of developing perch-and-stare UAV
DARPA's UAVForge, a crowdsourcing competition to design, build and manufacture an advanced small unmanned air vehicle (UAV), set out to determine if a loosely-connected community of UAV enthusiasts could develop a militarily relevant back-pack portable UAV with specific capabilities.

Rising plasma offers clues to sun storms
Researchers use Doppler tracking to see, for the first time, loops of 1,800,000-degree Fahrenheit plasma flowing up from the sun at more than 12 miles per second.

SDSC's CIPRES Science Gateway clarifies branches in evolution's 'tree of life'
A new Web resource developed at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego is helping thousands of researchers worldwide unravel the enigmas of phylogenetics, the study of evolutionary relationships among virtually every species on the planet.

Social bats pay a price: Fungal disease, white-nose syndrome ... extinction?
The effect on bat populations of a deadly fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome may depend on how gregarious the bats are during hibernation, scientists have discovered.

Tufts Medical Center researchers receive $10 million NIH grant to test blood clot prevention drug
Tufts Medical Center researchers are developing a first-of-its-kind drug to prevent deadly blood clots in heart disease patients, without the risk of serious bleeding associated with current medications.

SMOS satellite measurements improve as ground radars switch off
Over a dozen radio signals that have hindered data collection on ESA's SMOS water mission have been switched off.

2 studies offer new insights from the front lines of battle against malaria
A pair of provocative studies in the July 2012 issue of the American Journal of Tropical and Medicine and Hygiene provides a window into the intense ground war now underway against malaria.

DOE supports fiber-optic data link critical to search for the Higgs 'God' particle
SMU Physics Research Professor Annie Xiang has won a three-year research and development grant of $67,500 annually from the U.S.

Obesity, larger waist size associated with better outcomes in heart failure patients
A slim waist and normal weight are usually associated with better health outcomes, but that's not always the case with heart failure patients, according to a new UCLA study.

AIT president awarded for outstanding contribution to education
Professor Said Irandoust, President of the Asian Institute of Technology, an intergovernmental institute of higher education based in Bangkok, has been honored at the First World Education Congress 2012 being held at Mumbai, India.

Searching for an ancient syphilis DNA in newborns
The ancient bones of newborns are very useful to recover the ancient DNA of the bacteria causing syphilis, the Treponema pallidum pallidum.

Oh, baby! A young star flaunts its X-ray spots in McNeil's Nebula
X-ray observations have revealed something curious about the young star that illuminates McNeil's Nebula, a glowing jewel of cosmic dust in the Orion constellation: The object is a protostar rotating once a day, or 30 times faster than the sun.

Childhood adversity increases risk for depression and chronic inflammation
When a person injures their knee, it becomes inflamed. When a person has a cold, their throat becomes inflamed.

Revolutionary project will obtain entire genome sequences in fight against Alzheimer's
Since 2004, UCLA's Laboratory of Neuro Imaging (LONI) has been part of the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), an ambitious, worldwide effort by scientists to define the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

Physicists identify new quantum state allowing 3 -- but not 2 -- atoms to stick together
A Kansas State University-led quantum mechanics study has discovered a new bound state in atoms that may help scientists better understand matter and its composition.

New study finds increase in track-related injuries among youth in the United States
With the 2012 summer Olympic games about to take place in London, children everywhere are looking forward to watching their sports idols and role models take center stage.

Parents less likely to develop colds, Carnegie Mellon research shows
There is no question that being a parent is, at times, challenging both physically and mentally.

Study results: Adult stem cells from bone marrow
Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Maryland report promising results from using adult stem cells from bone marrow in mice to help create tissue cells of other organs, such as the heart, brain and pancreas -- a scientific step they hope may lead to potential new ways to replace cells lost in diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson's or Alzheimer's.

Discovery explains how cellular pathways converge to regulate food intake and body weight
In the complex chain of molecular events that underlie eating behaviors and body weight, the AMPK enzyme has proven to be a critical link.

Stereoscopic 3-D for professional training of football referees
Researchers from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid are applying stereoscopic 3-D to record exercises on offside position for the FIFA to use as teaching material in professional training courses for assistant referees.

Penn engineers convert a natural plant protein into drug-delivery vehicles
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have now shown a new approach for making vesicles and fine-tuning their shapes.

12th International Coral Reef Symposium
The 12th International Coral Reef Symosium will bring together 2,500 people from some 80 countries to communicate their science and hear their latest advances from the international experts in coral reef science.

Pakistan's national mammal makes a comeback
The Wildlife Conservation Society announced today that the markhor -- a majestic wild goat species -- is making a remarkable comeback in Pakistan due to conservation efforts.

Exposure to violence has long-term stress effects among adolescents
Children who are exposed to community violence continue to exhibit a physical stress response up to a year after the exposure, suggesting that exposure to violence may have long-term negative health consequences, according researchers at Penn State and University College London.

Why smoking is 'BAD' for the Fallopian tube -- and increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy
Cigarette smoke reduces the production of a Fallopian tube gene known as

Motion sensors detect horse lameness earlier than veterinarians, MU study finds
A University of Missouri equine veterinarian has developed a way to detect this problem using a motion detection system called the

Risk factors for death identified for children with diarrhea in rural Kenya
A hospital-based surveillance study conducted by Ciara O'Reilly of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga., and colleagues describes the risk factors for death amongst children who have been hospitalized with diarrhea in rural Kenya.

Highlighting molecular clues to the link between childhood maltreatment and later suicide
Exposure to childhood maltreatment increases the risk for most psychiatric disorders as well as many negative consequences of these conditions.

New technology reduces data center energy consumption by more than 20 percent
ICT as a whole is responsible for about 2 percent of global CO2 emissions, a figure equivalent to the fuel consumption of aviation.

A study demonstrates that ibuprofen improves bone repair after surgery or a fracture
An in vitro study conducted at the University of Granada has demonstrated that a therapeutic dose of this non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug improves bone repair.

First photo of shadow of single atom
In an international breakthrough, Griffith University scientists in Australia have captured the first image of the shadow of a single atom.

West coast experiencing decreasing trends in salmon spawning
The number of adult sockeye salmon produced per spawner has been decreasing over the last decade or more along the western coast of North America, from Washington state up through British Columbia and southeast Alaska.

How do you turn 10 minutes of power into 200? Efficiency, efficiency, efficiency
M3 Actuation is an effort within DARPA's Maximum Mobility and Manipulation (M3) robotics program, and adds a new dimension to DARPA's suite of robotics research and development work.

Epigenetics alters genes in rheumatoid arthritis
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego -- led by Gary S.

Quantum computing, no cooling required
Using a pair of impurities in ultra-pure, laboratory-grown diamonds, researchers have created room-temperature quantum bits, and store information in them for nearly two seconds -- an increase of nearly six orders of magnitude over the lifespan of earlier systems.

Shrinking leaves point to climate change
University of Adelaide researchers have discovered that recent climate change is causing leaves of some Australian plants to narrow in size.

Feathered saurians -- downy dinosaur discovered
The new fossil find from the chalk beds of the Franconian Jura evokes associations with a pet cemetery, for the young predatory dinosaur reveals clear traces of fluffy plumage.

Economists Kaboski, Townsend awarded 2012 Frisch Medal for paper evaluating microfinance programs
Economists Joseph P. Kaboski of the University of Notre Dame and Robert M.

Safety indicators confirmed for common treatment of heart defect
A new study by medical scientists coordinated from the University of Manchester has for the first time used patients' results to establish that

Global warming favors proliferation of toxic cyanobacteria
Cyanobacteria populations, primitive aquatic microorganisms, are frequently encountered in water bodies, especially in summer.

Social bats pay a price with new fungal disease
The impact on bat populations of a deadly fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome may depend on how gregarious the bats are during hibernation.

Shingles vaccine among patients with psoriasis, RA not linked with increased risk of shingles
Although some have suggested that patients receiving medication for immune-mediated diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis may be at increased risk of herpes zoster (HZ; shingles) shortly after receipt of the vaccine, an analysis that included nearly 20,000 vaccinated Medicare beneficiaries finds that the live zoster vaccine is not associated with an increased risk of HZ shortly after vaccination in patients currently treated with biologics

Road-mapping the Asian brain
Scientists at the University of Nottingham are leading research that will develop the world's first

Brazil has laws that protect against "Big Food" and "Big Snack"
Under pressure from civil society organizations, the Brazilian government has introduced legislation to protect and improve its traditional food system, standing in contrast to the governments of many industrialized countries that have partly surrendered their prime duty to protect public health to transnational food companies, argue nutrition and public health experts writing in this week's PLoS Medicine.

Feel-good glass for windows
Daylight acts on our body clock and stimulates the brain.

Pre-industrial emissions still causing temperatures to rise
A climate model accounting for the carbon dioxide released into our atmosphere before the industrial revolution has been used to show the detrimental effect of carbon emissions on global temperature in the long term.

Foster kids do much better under approach developed by CU School of Medicine
Foster kids who receive mentoring and training in skills such as anger management, healthy communication, and problem solving are less likely to move foster homes or to be placed in a residential treatment center, and more likely to reunify with their biological families, according to a study by University of Colorado School of Medicine researchers.

Pyrotechnically speaking for your 4th of July fun and fascination
From the hiss of the fuse to the boom and burst of colors, an American Chemical Society video available again this year explains the science behind the exciting sights and sounds of 4th of July fireworks.

Why current strategies for fighting obesity are not working
As the United States confronts the growing epidemic of obesity among children and adults, a team of University of Colorado School of Medicine obesity researchers concludes that what the nation needs is a new battle plan -- one that replaces the emphasis on widespread food restriction and weight loss with an emphasis on helping people achieve

Bugs inspire better X-rays: Nanostructures modeled like moth eyes may boost medical imaging
Using the compound eyes of the humble moth as their inspiration, an international team of physicists has developed new nanoscale materials that could someday reduce the radiation dosages received by patients getting X-rayed, while improving the resolution of the resulting images.

The genomics symposium to boost the further development of cancer research
The symposium themed

Polio vaccination programs not reaching enough children in Afghanistan and Pakistan
New, more effective vaccines are struggling to have an impact in the drive to eradicate polio in Afghanistan and Pakistan because not enough children are being vaccinated, according to a study published in the Lancet medical journal today.

Dr. Curtis Wray awarded cancer research grant
Curtis Wray, M.D., an assistant professor of surgery at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School, has been awarded a grant from the American Cancer Society to find ways to improve the care and quality of life for people with liver cancer.

Northwestern launches comprehensive program for patients with bicuspid aortic valve disease
Northwestern Memorial Hospital's Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute has been at the forefront of BAV research and treatment for years and recently launched a comprehensive program that brings together a multidisciplinary team of specialists experienced in the diagnosis and medical and surgical management of patients with BAV.

Genetic 911: Cells' emergency systems revealed
Toxic chemicals wreak havoc on cells, damaging DNA and other critical molecules.

Sandia SolarTrak technology helps arrays worldwide follow the sun
A former Sandia National Laboratories researcher licenses a Sandia solar tracking technology and builds global business around moving solar panels into the best possible position to catch sunlight and generate energy.

In McNeil's Nebula, a young star flaunts its X-ray spots
Using combined data from a trio of orbiting X-ray telescopes, including NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Japan-led Suzaku satellite, astronomers have obtained a rare glimpse of the powerful phenomena that accompany a still-forming star.

A high intake of certain dietary fats associated with lower live birth rates in IVF
Women with a higher intake of dietary saturated fats have fewer mature oocytes available for collection in IVF, according to results of a study from the Harvard School of Public Health funded by the US National Institutes of Health.

Toward an alternative for antibiotics to fight bacterial infections?
VIB researcher Mohamed Lamkanfi, connected to Ghent University, discovered that mice that do not produce the receptor protein NLRP6, are better protected against bacterial infections and can easier remove bacteria from the body.

An entire army sacrificed in a bog
Danish archaeologists and other experts from Skanderborg Museum, Moesgard Museum and Aarhus University carries out a major excavation near Alken, a small town outside Skanderborg on the Jutland peninsula in Denmark.

Revisiting the association between saturated fat intake and coronary heart disease
In this week's PLoS Medicine, Kay-Tee Khaw of the University of Cambridge, UK and colleagues analyze data from a prospective cohort study and show associations between plasma concentrations of saturated phospholipid fatty acids and risk of coronary heart disease, and an inverse association between omega-6 polyunsaturated phospholipid fatty acids and risk of coronary heart disease.

Giraffes are living proof that cells' pressure matters
Physicists from the Curie Institute, France, explored the relative impact of the mechanical pressure induced by dividing cells in biological tissues. 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