Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 11, 2012
Helping family is key for social birds
Social birds that forgo breeding to help to raise the offspring of other group members are far more likely to care for their own close relatives than for more distant kin, a new study has found.

Ancient domesticated remains are oldest in southern Africa
Researchers have found evidence of the earliest known instance of domesticated caprines (sheep and goats) in southern Africa, dated to the end of the first millennium BC, providing new data to the ongoing debate about the origins of domestication and herding practices in this region.

WALTHAM® demonstrates commitment to scientific dialogue and exchange at international human animal interaction conference
WALTHAM® scientists and research collaborators will present their work to a group of leading international experts in the field of human animal interaction at the ISAZ 2012 conference this week.

Toward new drugs for the human and non-human cells in people
Amid the growing recognition that only a small fraction of the cells and genes in a typical human being are human, scientists are suggesting a revolutionary approach to developing new medicines and treatments to target both the human and non-human components of people.

Live Fire Tests with FDNY Will Guide Improvements in Fire Department Tactics
The New York City Fire Department, NIST and Underwriters Laboratories have set fire to 20 abandoned townhouses on Governors Island, New York, in a series of experiments to test the conventional wisdom on, and new tactics for, controlling fires and rescuing occupants inside burning homes.

Dark galaxies of the early Universe spotted for the first time
For the first time, dark galaxies -- an early phase of galaxy formation, predicted by theory but unobserved until now -- may have been spotted.

Sailing -- philosophy for everyone
What drives someone to row across the Atlantic or sail, single-handed, around the globe?

NIST updates guidelines for mobile device security
NIST has released for public comment a proposed update to its guidelines for securing mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets that are used by the federal government.

Personalized genomic medicine faces many hurdles
When the human genome project was completed in 2003, some expected it to herald a new age of personalized genomic medicine, but the resulting single

Giving ancient life another chance to evolve
Using a process called paleo-experimental evolution, Georgia Tech researchers have resurrected a 500-million-year-old gene from bacteria and inserted it into modern-day Escherichia coli bacteria.

Menopausal hormone therapy associated with increased blood pressure
Menopausal hormone therapy use is associated with higher odds of high blood pressure, according to research published July 11 in the open-access journal PLoS ONE.

Down on the cacao farm: Sloths thrive at chocolate's source
Like many Neotropical fauna, sloths are running out of room to maneuver.

Widespread exposure to BPA substitute is occurring from cash register receipts, other paper
People are being exposed to higher levels of the substitute for BPA in cash register thermal paper receipts and many of the other products that engendered concerns about the health effects of bisphenol A, according to a new study.

New study suggests moderate alcohol consumption may help prevent bone loss
Drinking a moderate amount of alcohol as part of a healthy lifestyle may benefit women's bone health, lowering their risk of developing osteoporosis.

Weight loss resulting from a low-fat diet may help eliminate menopausal symptoms
Weight loss that occurs in conjunction with a low-fat, high fruit and vegetable diet may help to reduce or eliminate hot flashes and night sweats associated with menopause, according to a Kaiser Permanente Division of Research study that appears in the current issue of Menopause.

Call to improve safety of home treatment for mental health patients
Deaths by suicide among mental health patients treated at home have reached 150 to 200 a year in England, latest national figures reveal - but suicides among patients on mental health wards continue to fall.

Rio+20 sustainability conference gets mixed reviews
Although a walkout by disgruntled activists may have grabbed headlines, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro last month did produce hundreds of individual commitments from participants with potential for having major impacts.

Using biomarkers to identify and treat schizophrenia
In the current online issue of PLoS ONE, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine say they have identified a set of laboratory-based biomarkers that can be useful for understanding brain-based abnormalities in schizophrenia.

Ions, not particles, make silver toxic to bacteria
Rice researchers settle a long-standing controversy on the mechanism by which silver nanoparticles kill bacteria - and they find that using too little can help bacteria build immunity.

Queen's University scientist awarded top prize
A female scientist from the Queen's University Ionic Liquid Laboratories Research Centre has won a prestigious fellowship for her work on ionic liquids enabling biomedical applications.

OxyContin formula change has many abusers switching to heroin
A change in the formula of the frequently abused prescription painkiller OxyContin has many abusers switching to a drug that is potentially more dangerous, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Stanford scientists identify potential target for treating major symptom of depression
Stanford University School of Medicine scientists have laid bare a novel molecular mechanism responsible for the most important symptom of major depression: anhedonia, the loss of the ability to experience pleasure.

How metastasizing cancer cells enter organs
It is not primary tumors that are responsible for the majority of cancer deaths, but rather their metastases.

Want to get teens interested in math and science? Target their parents
Increasing the number of students interested in science, technology, engineering, and math - the STEM disciplines - is vital to national competitiveness in the global economy and to the development of a strong workforce.

Smart materials get SMARTer
Living organisms have developed sophisticated ways to maintain stability in a changing environment, withstanding fluctuations in temperature, pH, pressure, and the presence or absence of crucial molecules.

Stress reduction therapy prevents MS brain lesions
Stress counseling for patients with multiple sclerosis prevented the development of new brain lesions, a marker of the disease's activity in the brain, reports a new study.

Native American populations descend from 3 key migrations
Scientists have found that Native American populations -- from Canada to the southern tip of Chile -- arose from at least three migrations, with the majority descended entirely from a single group of First American migrants that crossed over through Beringia, a land bridge between Asia and America that existed during the ice ages, more than 15,000 years ago.

Hubble discovers a fifth moon orbiting Pluto
A team of astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is reporting the discovery of another moon orbiting the icy dwarf planet Pluto.

The emotion detectives uncover new ways to fight off youth anxiety and depression
UM researchers assess the efficacy and feasibility of a program designed to help children and parents learn about emotions and develop strategies for a happier life.

Got milk? Climate change means stressed cows in southern US may have less
University of Washington researchers found that the decline in cow milk production due to climate change will vary across the US, since there are significant differences in humidity and how much the temperature swings between night and day across the country.

Eye movement direction not correlated with lying
New research refutes a commonly held belief that certain eye movements are associated with lying.

NIST issues guidance for pediatric electronic health records
NIST has released a guide to help improve the design of electronic health records for pediatric patients so that the design focus is on the users -- the doctors, nurses, and other clinicians who treat children.

NASA sees Tropical Storm Daniel move over cooler water
Tropical Storm Daniel was once a hurricane and now a rapidly weakening tropical storm as a result of moving over cooler waters.

Silver nanoparticle synthesis using strawberry tree leaf
A team of researchers from Greece and Spain have managed to synthesize silver nanoparticles, which are of great interest thanks to their application in biotechnology, by using strawberry tree leaf extract.

Free phone advice helps Indonesian rice farmers earn more
Indonesian farmers could earn an added net income of US$100 or more per hectare per season by following fertilizer advice from a new service they can now access for free with their mobile phone.

Strong communication between brain and muscle requires both having the protein LRP4
Communication between the brain and muscle must be strong for us to eat, breathe or walk.

HIV drug reduces graft-vs.-host disease in bone marrow transplant patients, Penn study shows
An HIV drug that redirects immune cell traffic significantly reduces the incidence of a dangerous complication that often follows bone marrow transplants for blood cancer patients, according to research from the University of Pennsylvania that will be published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers 1 step closer to new kind of thermoelectric 'heat engine'
Researchers who are studying a new magnetic effect that converts heat to electricity have discovered how to amplify it a thousand times over - a first step in making the technology more practical.

Handbook of exchange rates
How should we evaluate the forecasting power of models? What are appropriate loss functions for major market participants?

It's not just lunch
Sharing a meal with a former romantic partner is more likely than other, non-food-related activities to make your current partner jealous, according to a study published July 11 in the open-access journal PLoS ONE.

New model in scientific publishing: GigaScience combines article and data publication
BGI, the world's largest genome sequencing institute, and their publishing partner BioMed Central, a leader in scientific data sharing, announce the launch of a new journal, GigaScience, which publishes large-scale biological research in a unique format.

2 proteins offer a 'clearer' way to treat Huntington's disease
In a paper published in the July 11 online issue of Science Translational Medicine, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have identified two key regulatory proteins critical to clearing away misfolded proteins that accumulate and cause the progressive, deadly neurodegeneration of Huntington's disease.

JHU Bioethics Institute receives PCORI pilot project award
The Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics is a recipient of one of 50 pilot project awards by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to study stakeholder views of streamlined informed consent options for comparative effectiveness research studies.

Increased Impact Factors for Wiley titles
John Wiley & Sons, Inc., today announced a continued increase in the proportion of its journal titles indexed in the Thomson ISI® 2011 Journal Citation Reports.

Large and linked in scientific publishing the launch of big data journal GigaScience
BGI, the world's largest genomics institute, and BioMed Central, a leader in scientific data sharing, aim to revolutionize science publishing with the launch of GigaScience, a new open access, open data journal with a scope that embraces all life science research that generates 'big data'.

New grants for innovative Alzheimer's disease research announced by AHAF
The American Health Assistance Foundation, a nonprofit organization that funds ground-breaking, early-stage research on Alzheimer's disease, today announced it has awarded 22 new research grants, totaling more than $3.6 million, to scientists on the cutting edge of discoveries.

Scientists first to see trafficking of immune cells in beating heart
Working in mice, surgeons and scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Alzheimer's plaques in PET brain scans identify future cognitive decline
Among patients with mild or no cognitive impairment, brain scans using a new radioactive dye can detect early evidence of Alzheimer's disease that may predict future decline, according to a multi-center study led by researchers at Duke University Medical Center.

Cells derived from debrided burn tissue may be useful for tissue engineering
Cells from burn eschar, non-viable tissue remaining after burn injury, could be a source of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) for tissue engineering.

Scripps Research Institute wins $77 million to develop AIDS vaccine center
The Scripps Research Institute has been awarded a grant expected to total more than $77 million from the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Shape-shifting materials are goal of new nanotechnology project
An international research team has received a $2.9 million grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research to design nanomaterials whose internal structure changes shape in response to stimuli such as heat or light.

Decline of immune system with aging may have a genetic cause
By examining fruit flies at two different stages of their lives -- youth and middle age -- a team of US scientists have discovered important insights that explain why our ability to ward off infection declines with age.

Period drama! Australian research criticizes Hollywood portrayals of menstruation
An Australian study has criticized Hollywood's portrayal of menstruation, warning it's misinforming young girls and portraying periods as overly traumatic and humiliating.

Retina transplantation improved by manipulating recipient retinal microenvironment
Transplanting photoreceptor precursor cells into the retinal recipient microenvironment of adult mice, researchers used adeno-associated viral vectors (AAV) to introduce three growth factors -- IGF1, FGF2 and CNTF -- and manipulate that environment.

Cochrane finds no reliable evidence on effectiveness of electric fans in heatwaves
A new Cochrane systematic review of the effects of electric fans in heatwaves has found no high quality evidence to guide future national and international policies.

Identifying risky behaviors: The key to HIV prevention
HIV prevention must be better targeted, according to David Holtgrave from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US, and colleagues.

High-density lipoprotein still matters, look at the particles!
A team of researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital, the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and other institutions, have discovered that measuring HDL particles as opposed to HDL cholesterol is a much better indicator of coronary heart disease.

First detailed timeline established for brain's descent into Alzheimer's
Scientists have assembled the most detailed chronology to date of the human brain's long, slow slide into full-blown Alzheimer's disease.

The Iberian wolf lives close to humans more for refuge than for prey
The Iberian wolf lives in increasingly humanized landscapes, with limited food resources and its presence is not always welcome.

Gallo Research Center to lead $15 million US Army-funded national research program
The UCSF-affiliated Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center has been selected to administer and manage a US Army-funded research program intended to accelerate the discovery and development of new medications to treat alcohol and substance abuse in the context of post-traumatic stress and combat injury.

Updated nuclide chart - Enhanced knowledge of the elements' radioactivity
This chart is an extended periodic table of the elements displaying all known atoms of any element and their radioactive data.

Early-life exposure to chemical in drinking water may affect vision, study finds
Prenatal and early childhood exposure to the chemical solvent tetrachloroethylene found in drinking water may be associated with long-term visual impairments, particularly in the area of color discrimination, a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health researchers has found.

Cleveland Clinic researchers discover molecule that may prevent atherosclerosis
Cleveland Clinic researchers have discovered that a naturally occurring molecule may play a role in preventing plaque buildup inside arteries, possibly leading to new plaque-fighting drugs and improved screening of patients at risk of developing atherosclerosis.

Making 'renewable' viable
A team of researchers from Drexel University's College of Engineering has developed a new method for quickly and efficiently storing and discharging large amounts of energy.

Trigger for past rapid sea level rise discovered
The cause of rapid sea level rise in the past has been found by scientists at the University of Bristol using climate and ice sheet models.

The more gray matter you have, the more altruistic you are
The volume of a small brain region influences one's predisposition for altruistic behavior.

Stress management training may help reduce disease activity in MS
A new study shows that taking part in a stress management program may help people with multiple sclerosis prevent new disease activity.

TGen method isolates biospecimens for treatment of kidney disease
Researchers at the Translational Genomics Research Institute have developed a method of isolating biospecimens that could lead to a less costly, less invasive and more accurate way of diagnosing chronic kidney disease, or CKD.

UK nanodevice builds electricity from tiny pieces
A team of scientists at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and University of Cambridge has made a significant advance in using nano-devices to create accurate electrical currents.

Prices are down, value is up: The newly expanded ACerS-NIST database
One of the most influential collections of materials data at NIST is now not only bigger than ever but also more affordable than ever.

Smart Materials get SMARTer
Few synthetic materials are able to mimic the human body's ability to regulate itself -- until now.

Hormone-mimicking chemicals cause inter-species mating
Hormone-mimicking chemicals released into rivers have been found to impact the mating choices of fish, a new study has revealed.

Oral contraceptive use in girls and alcohol consumption in boys are associated with increased BP....
The substantial differences in blood pressure found in the study between those with a healthier or less favorable lifestyle

Genetics Society of America's Genetics journal highlights for July 2012
These are selected highlights for the July 2012 issue of the Genetics Society of America's journal, Genetics.

Making healthy food affordable and appealing for low-income populations
The Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior announces the 2012 Best Article and Best Great Educational Material awards to be presented at the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior annual conference,

Fossil turtle from Colombia round like car tire
Even the world's largest snake, Titanoboa, could probably not have swallowed this new, very round fossil turtle species from Colombia.

ATP splitting in membrane protein dynamically measured for the first time
How a transport protein obtains its driving force from the energy storage molecule ATP, has been tracked dynamically by RUB researchers.

Scientists develop new strategy to overcome drug-resistant childhood cancer
A new drug combination could offer hope to children with neuroblastoma - one of the deadliest forms of childhood cancer - by boosting the effectiveness of a promising new gene-targeted treatment.

White rot fungus boosts ethanol production from corn stalks, cobs and leaves
Scientists are reporting new evidence that a white rot fungus shows promise in the search for a way to use waste corn stalks, cobs and leaves -- rather than corn itself -- to produce ethanol to extend supplies of gasoline.

Air in expectant moms' homes contains pesticides, border study finds
Air samples from homes of Hispanic mothers-to-be along the Texas-Mexico border contained multiple pesticides in a majority of houses, a study from the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio shows.

Middle-aged women who were child abuse victims at increased risk for heart disease, diabetes
Middle-aged women who report having been physically abused as children are about two times more likely than other women their age to have high blood pressure, high blood sugar, a larger waistline and poor cholesterol levels, according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association.

University of Nottingham computer program helps Asian students understand regional accents
Researchers at the University of Nottingham have developed a unique computer program that helps Asian students to improve their understanding of accented English speech in noisy environments.

A deeper look into the pathogen responsible for crown gall disease in plants
Next week's Journal of Biological Chemistry

Transforming cancer treatment
A new study, co-authored by Martin Nowak, Harvard Professor of Mathematics and of Biology, suggests a new, multi-drug approach to treatment could make many cancers manageable, if not curable, illnesses by overcoming resistance to certain drug treatments.

Individual differences in altruism explained by brain region involved in empathy
What can explain extreme differences in altruism among individuals, from Ebenezer Scrooge to Mother Teresa?

Mutations in autism susceptibility gene increase risk in boys
Researchers at Emory University School of Medicine have identified five rare mutations in a single gene that appear to increase the chances that a boy will develop an autism spectrum disorder.

True blood: SLU scientist investigates clotting factors
The National Institutes of Health is funding research by Saint Louis University biochemist Alireza Rezaie, Ph.D., on balancing the life-preserving and life-threatening activity of blood clotting.

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center studies galaxy-exploring camera in the operating room
Neurosurgeons and researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute are adapting an ultraviolet camera to possibly bring planet-exploring technology into the operating room.

MARC travel awards announced for the 2012 Society for the Study of Reproduction 45th Annual Meeting
FASEB MARC (Maximizing Access to Research Careers) Program has announced the travel award recipients for the Society for the Study of Reproduction (SSR) Annual Meeting in State College, Pa., Aug.

Summer Olympics go for the green as London prepares to host the world
As athletes from around the world compete for medals at the Summer Olympics in London, the city will be striving to meet Olympic-level sustainability goals.

Royal Society honors University of Manchester academics
University of Manchester physicist Professor Brian Cox OBE has been awarded a Royal Society Award for excellence in communicating science.

Mayo Clinic finds switch that lets early lung cancer grow unchecked
Cellular change thought to happen only in late-stage cancers to help tumors spread also occurs in early-stage lung cancer as a way to bypass growth controls, say researchers at Mayo Clinic in Florida.

Anxiety linked to shortened telomeres, accelerated aging
A new study by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital shows that a common form of anxiety, known as phobic anxiety, was associated with shorter telomeres in middle-aged and older women.

Hubble discovers new Pluto moon
A team of astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has discovered a fifth moon orbiting the icy dwarf planet Pluto.

NIST releases second draft of federal ID credential security standard for comment
NIST has released the second-round draft version of its updated security standard for identity credentials in the Personal Identity Verification cards (PIV cards) that all federal employees and contractors must use.

ASU ecologist receives prestigious global award for water research
Arizona State University professor James Elser today received the G.

New international plan to tackle cyber crime launched
A new international plan to tackle cyber crime has been launched Queen's University Belfast.

Engineering Magazine names ONR a 'Best Diversity Company'
The Office of Naval Research (ONR) was named a

Children with disabilities nearly 4 times as likely be to victims of violence as children who are not disabled
Children with disabilities are three to four times more likely to be victims of violence than children who are not disabled, with an estimated one in four experiencing violence during their lifetime, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis published Online First in the Lancet.

ONR opens a gateway to improved network data sharing on Navy ships
On any Navy destroyer, cruiser or carrier today, there are two networks: One for combat systems (weapons and sensors) and one for command and control.

North America's Environment ministers issue statement
With the conclusion of a successful meeting of the Council of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation on Community and Ecosystem Resilience in North America, North America's environment ministers Administrator Jackson, Minister Kent and Secretary Elvira, announced the modernization of the Submission on Enforcement Matters Process, a strengthened commitment to initiatives to Green the North American Economy, and a continued focus on streamlining the cooperative work program of the CEC.

NIST releases test framework for upgrading smart electrical meters
Next-generation smart electrical meters for residential and commercial buildings will have computerized operating systems just as laptops or mobile devices do.

Global Budget Payment Model lowers medical spending, improves quality
Researchers find that global budgets for health care, an alternative to the traditional fee-for-service model of reimbursement, can slow the growth of medical spending and improve the quality of care for patients.

UW scientists discover why human body cannot fight HIV infection
University of Washington researchers have made a discovery that sheds light on why the human body is unable to adequately fight off HIV infection.

Study to test success of vision loss drug which could slash treatment costs for NHS
Nottingham researchers are leading a study to test the effectiveness of a controversial drug in the treatment of a common loss of vision.

NASA sees Emilia as a Category 2 hurricane now
Hurricane Emilia reached peak intensity yesterday, July 10, when its maximum sustained winds hit 140 mph (220 kmh). 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