Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 03, 2012
Touch your philodendron and control your computer
Any houseplant -- real or artificial -- could control a computer or any digital device with new Disney Research technology, called Botanicus Interactus.

New research on malaria, bedbugs, polio, TB, cholera, more at ASTMH Annual Meeting
The 61st Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, the largest gathering of its kind, is bringing together leading experts from around the world who are battling familiar and resurgent threats like malaria, polio, dengue fever, cholera, tick-borne diseases, and drug-resistant tuberculosis that each year sicken or kill hundreds of millions of people.

MDC researchers develop new approach to treat acute liver failure
Acute liver failure is a life-threatening disease. Unfortunately, few treatment options exist.

Predatory beetles eavesdrop on ants' chemical conversations to find best egg-laying sites
Predatory beetles can detect the unique alarm signal released by ants that are under attack by parasitic flies, and the beetles use those overheard conversations to guide their search for safe egg-laying sites on coffee bushes.

Added benefit of linagliptin is not proven
Linagliptin (trade name: Trajenta®) has been approved since August 2011 to improve blood glucose control (

August 2012 story tips
Data archived at Oak Ridge National Laboratory can now be more effectively discovered, used and tracked through a new research resource from Thompson Reuters.

NSF releases report detailing nationwide and state-by-state R&D activities
A recent report released by the National Science Foundation found state agency expenditures for research and development totaled $1.2 billion in fiscal year 2009, a seven percent increase over the fiscal 2007 total of $1.1 billion.

Heterogeneous ER+ breast cancer models allow more accurate drug testing
Cell cultures are homogeneous. Human tumors are not. A University of Colorado Cancer Center study recently published in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment reports the development of human-derived estrogen-positive breast cancer models that retain their heterogeneity, allowing researchers to more accurately test drugs for this disease.

MAK value lowered for chlorinated biphenyls
Senate Commission for the Investigation of Health Hazards of Chemical Compounds in the Work Area submits 2012 list of MAK and BAT values with 94 changes and new entries.

Tropical Storm Ernesto was an unwelcome visitor in St. Lucia
The fifth Atlantic Ocean tropical depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Ernesto on Thursday, Aug.

Unexpected variation in immune genes poses difficulties for transplantation
Human HLA genes -- the genes that allow our immune system to tell the difference between our own cells and foreign invaders -- are evolving much more rapidly than previously thought, according to an article online on Aug.

Major step taken towards 'unbreakable' message exchange
Single particles of light, also known as photons, have been produced and implemented into a quantum key distribution link, paving the way for unbreakable communication networks.

New generation of virtual humans helping to train psychologists
New technology has led to the creation of virtual humans who can interact with therapists via a computer screen and realistically mimic the symptoms of a patient with clinical psychological disorders, according to new research presented at the American Psychological Association's 120th Annual Convention.

Bacterial community inside the plant root
Plants choose the soil bacteria that they allow into their roots.

Fragile X and Down syndromes share signalling pathway for intellectual disability
Intellectual disability due to Fragile X and Down syndromes involves similar molecular pathways.

Carnegie Mellon and Disney Research develop new model for animated faces and bodies
Computer graphic artists who produce computer-animated movies and games spend much time creating subtle movements such as expressions on faces, gesticulations on bodies and the draping of clothes.

Strawberry extract protects against UVA rays
An experiment has shown that strawberry extract added to skin cell cultures acts as a protector against ultraviolet radiation as well as increasing its viability and reducing damage to DNA.

Mystery of elephant infrasounds revealed
In the current edition of Science, an international team of voice researchers and cognitive biologists led by Christian Herbst, Angela Stoeger and Tecumseh Fitch, provides new insights into the production of elephant communication.

Ancient records shed light on Italian earthquakes (Aquila area)
When a damaging earthquake struck the area of L'Aquila in central Italy in 2009, it was the latest in the region's long history of strong and persistent quakes.

What you don't know can hurt you
Is it possible for a health-care system to redesign its services to better educate patients to deal with their immediate health issues and also become more savvy consumers of medicine in the long run?

Supernova progenitor found?
Type Ia supernovae are violent stellar explosions. Observations of their brightness are used to determine distances in the universe and have shown scientists that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate.

Memory improves for older adults using computerized brain fitness program
UCLA researchers found that older adults who regularly used a brain fitness program played on a computer demonstrated significantly improved memory and language skills.

New accelerator is helping Notre Dame scientists understand the working of the universe
A new NSF-funded accelerator at the University of Notre Dame is helping to recreate stellar nuclear processes in the laboratory to complement the observational studies of new earth- and space-based telescopes that trace past and present nucleosynthesis processes in the Cosmos.

NUS researchers identify a novel double-stranded DNA structure
By way of mechanical stretching, National University of Singapore researchers identify a novel double-stranded DNA structure, thus successfully resolving a 16-year-old scientific debate over the existence of a double-stranded DNA structure.

NASA sees triple tropical trouble in northwestern Pacific
NASA's Aqua satellite captured an image of a very busy northwestern Pacific Ocean where three tropical cyclones are active.

Playfulness may help adults attract mates, study finds
Why do adults continue to play throughout their lives while most other mature mammals cease such behavior?

Bilingualism 'can increase mental agility'
Bilingual children outperform children who speak only one language in problem-solving skills and creative thinking, according to research led at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland.

Students with strong hearts and lungs may make better grades, study finds
Having a healthy heart and lungs may be one of the most important factors for middle school students to make good grades in math and reading, according to findings presented at the American Psychological Association's 120th Annual Convention.

NEH awards University of Houston biggest Texas grant this funding cycle
The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded Casey Dué Hackney, professor and director of classical studies in the department of modern and classical languages at University of Houston $276,115 to study and fully publish for the first time a manuscript of the Homeric Iliad from the Middle Ages.

TOMS teams up with the University of Miami's RJD program to create 'The Shark Shoe'
TOMS is making its mark on our oceans, as it teams Up with the University of Miami's RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program to promote

Research collaboration among multiple institutions is growing trend
A recent National Science Foundation report found that research collaboration among multiple institutions is a growing trend.

UT Southwestern investigators awarded $48.2 million in latest round of CPRIT grants
The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas has awarded $48.2 million in new grants to investigators at UT Southwestern Medical Center to support cancer-related projects and to recruit pre-eminent cancer researchers.

Aurka-to-p53 signaling: A link between stem cell regulation and cancer
Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, the University of Manchester, and the MD Anderson Cancer Center have found a new role for an oncogenic signaling pathway in embryonic stem cell (ESC) self-renewal and in reprogramming adult cells into an ESC-state, which will aid in the development of future cancer therapies.

Ethylene of no effect -- why peppers do not mature after picking
Climacteric and non-climacteric fruits react differently to the plant hormone ethylene.

Computer scientist seeks to improve portability of mobile device applications
Mobile computing devices will probably overtake the personal computer as the most common means for accessing the Internet worldwide sometime in 2013 and it may not be a seamless transition, according to Eli Tilevich, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science.

How the cell swallows
Scientists at EMBL Heidelberg have combined the power of two kinds of microscope to produce a three-dimensional movie of how cells 'swallow' nutrients and other molecules by engulfing them.

Iowa State, Ames Lab researchers invent new tool to study single biological molecules
Sanjeevi Sivasankar of Iowa State University and the Ames Laboratory is leading a research team that has developed new microscope technology to study biological molecules.

People with allergies may have lower risk of brain tumors
New research adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting that there's a link between allergies and reduced risk of a serious type of cancer that starts in the brain.

Defining tomorrow's medicine - SingHealth Duke-NUS Scientific Congress 2012
SingHealth and Duke-NUS' strong partnership in research and education notched another success with the opening of the 2nd SingHealth Duke-NUS Scientific Congress, attended by more than 2,500 multi-disciplinary medical, nursing, allied health and research professionals, academic scholars as well as overseas healthcare leaders.

Crayfish species proves to be the ultimate survivor
Red swamp crayfish, known as one of the most successful invaders on earth, is able to feed off the land as well as getting food from its usual source in the water.

Psychology gives courts, policymakers evidence to help judge adolescents' actions
Determining when a teenage brain becomes an adult brain is not an exact science but it's getting closer, according to an expert in adolescent developmental psychology, speaking at the American Psychological Association's 120th Annual Convention.

Birds that live with varying weather sing more versatile songs
A new study of North American songbirds reveals that birds that live with fluctuating weather are more flexible singers.

Disney researchers add sense of touch to augmented reality applications
Technology developed by Disney Research, Pittsburgh, makes it possible to change the feel of real-world surfaces and objects, including touch-screens, walls, furniture, wooden or plastic objects, without requiring users to wear special gloves or use force-feedback devices.

Parents get physical with unruly kids, study finds
Parents get physical with their misbehaving children in public much more than they show in laboratory experiments and acknowledge in surveys, according to one of the first real-world studies of caregiver discipline.

Queen's researcher finds situation dire for threatened rhino species
Peter de Groot hopes his recent finding confirming the extinction of the Javan rhinoceros in Vietnam pushes the public to protect the last remaining group of these prehistoric creatures living in Indonesia.

$3.2 million to develop battery management system for electric-car batteries
The US Department of Energy announced Aug. 2 that a team of engineers at Washington University in St.

Wayne State researchers working to improve genetic analysis, disorder detection
Wayne State University researchers are testing a way to determine the status of fetal chromosomes that could lead to healthier outcomes for mothers and their babies.

Disney Research demonstrates markerless motion capture
Conventional motion capture for film and game production involves multiple cameras and actors festooned with markers. 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