Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 08, 2012
Diversity keeps grasslands resilient to drought, climate change
Grasslands should come out as the winner with increased periods and intensity of drought predicted in the future.

UK hotel industry alive with innovation
Large hotel chains are quick to adopt and adapt innovations developed in other industries, while smaller hotels make almost continual incremental changes in response to customers' needs.

New 3D map of massive galaxies and black holes offers clues to dark matter, dark energy
Astronomers have constructed the largest-ever three-dimensional map of massive galaxies and distant black holes, which will help the investigation of the mysterious

'Exergames' not perfect, but can lead to more exercise
Active video games, also known as

Scientists show 2-drug combination has potential to fight cocaine addiction
A fine-tuned combination of two existing pharmaceutical drugs has shown promise as a potential new therapy for people addicted to cocaine -- a therapy that would reduce their craving for the drug and blunt their symptoms of withdrawal.

Iron, vitamins could affect physical fitness in adolescents
Research published in the Journal of Applied Physiology has found that adolescents' blood levels of various micronutrients are correlated with how well they performed in certain physical fitness tests.

Wiki where you work?
Do corporate wikis work? Two University of Alberta researchers say they can, providing they fit the corporation's culture and provide for the needs and interests of their users and editors.

Study shows official measures of American poverty off-base
A new study by University of Notre Dame economist James X.

Maternal obesity increases risk of newborn death in sub-Saharan Africa where obesity is rising at alarming rate
New research published Online First in the Lancet indicates that babies born to mothers who are overweight or obese in sub-Saharan Africa, where rates of obesity are projected to increase at an alarming rate during the next two decades, are significantly more likely to die in the first two days after their birth.

The first public data release from BOSS, the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey
Now available to the public: spectroscopic data from over 500,000 galaxies up to 7 billion light years away, over 100,000 quasars up to 11.5 billion light years away, and many thousands of other astronomical objects in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey's Data Release 9.

UC San Diego, Yale awarded collaborative NSF grant for Neuroscience Gateway
The University of California, at San Diego and Yale University have been awarded a collaborative grant by the National Science Foundation to develop a Neuroscience Gateway that gives neuroscientists broadened access to essential high-performance computing and storage resources.

Drivers of marine biodiversity: Tiny, freeloading clams find the key to evolutionary success
What mechanisms control the generation and maintenance of biological diversity on the planet?

Boys appear to be more vulnerable than girls to the insecticide chlorpyrifos
A new study is the first to find a difference between how boys and girls respond to prenatal exposure to the insecticide chlorpyrifos.

New Kenyan fossils shed light on early human evolution
Exciting new fossils discovered east of Lake Turkana confirm that there were two additional species of our genus -- Homo -- living alongside our direct human ancestral species, Homo erectus, almost two million years ago.

Oh, my stars and hexagons! DNA code shapes gold nanoparticles
DNA holds the genetic code for all sorts of biological molecules and traits.

1 in 3 post-partum women suffers PTSD symptoms after giving birth
Doctors are still divided about whether childbirth qualifies as a

New scientific method unmasks chronic infections
With the aid of tiny silicon tubes and one of Europe's most sophisticated centres for microscopy, scientists from University of Copenhagen have been able for the first time to observe directly bacteria in chronic infections.

NASA sees heavy rainfall and high thunderstorms in Tropical Storm Ernesto
NASA's TRMM satellite has been measuring the heavy rainfall in Ernesto, and some of the rainfall totals may reach one foot in Central America.

Advanced explosives detector to sniff out previously undetectable amounts of TNT
With the best explosive detectors often unable to sniff out the tiny amounts of TNT released from terrorist bombs in airports and other public places, scientists are reporting a potential solution.

The difference between a mole and shrew is in their SOX
The family of small insectivores, Talpidae, includes the moles, shrew moles, and aquatic desmans.

Clemson researchers collect and reuse enzymes while maintaining bioactivity
Clemson University researchers are collecting and harvesting enzymes while maintaining the enzyme's bioactivity.

Snail believed extinct found in Cahaba River by student
A freshwater snail declared extinct in 2000 was recently rediscovered in the Cahaba River by a University of Alabama graduate student.

Cost-effective production of infrared lenses
If visibility is poor, thermal cameras can warn drivers of people or animals on the road.

Study sheds light on underlying causes of impaired brain function in muscular dystrophy
The molecular missteps that disrupt brain function in the most common form of adult-onset muscular dystrophy have been revealed in a new study.

Unusual weather events identified during the Black Saturday bushfires
Research has revealed that the extremely hot, dry and windy conditions on Black Saturday combined with structures in the atmosphere called 'horizontal convective rolls' -similar to streamers of wind flowing through the air - which likely affected fire behavior.

Cichlid fish: How does the swim bladder affect hearing?
In bony fish the swim bladder primarily serves for buoyancy.

Delirium increases the risk of developing new dementia 8-fold in older patients
Older people who have experienced episodes of delirium are significantly more likely to develop dementia, according to new research.

Hibernation altered by climate change takes a toll on Rocky Mountain animal species
A University of Alberta-led international research team examined data on a population of Columbian ground squirrels and found a trend of late spring snow falls has delayed the animals' emergence from hibernation by 10 days over the last 20 years.

Hyenas that think outside the box solve problems faster
Innovative problem solving requires trying many different solutions. That's true for humans, and now Michigan State University researchers show that it's true for hyenas, too.

Simple mathematical computations underlie brain circuits
MIT neuroscientists report that two major classes of brain cells repress neural activity in specific mathematical ways: One type subtracts from overall activation, while the other divides it.

Chronic exposure to staph bacteria may be risk factor for lupus, Mayo study finds
Chronic exposure to even small amounts of staph bacteria could be a risk factor for the chronic inflammatory disease lupus, Mayo Clinic research shows.

Brain activity may predict teens' heavy drinking
Heavy drinking is known to affect teenagers' developing brains, but certain patterns of brain activity may also help predict which kids are at risk of becoming problem drinkers, according to a study in the September issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Financial shock model could lead to forecasts of crises, says MU researcher
University of Missouri economist Christopher Otrok is working on a mathematical model designed to help explain the way financial shocks, or sudden drastic changes in the economy, spread from one country to another.

University of Tennessee engineering team develops chip for Mars rover
Ben Blalock, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and two graduate students -- Stephen Terry, now an alumnus, and Robert Greenwell -- designed a tiny microchip that weighs close to a paper clip and helps control the motors on the rover.

NASA's Aqua satellite sees Tropical Storm Haikui make landfall in China
Typhoon Haikui weakened to a tropical storm just before landfall in China.

Test vaccine successfully protects monkeys from Nipah virus
Researchers have successfully tested in monkeys a vaccine against Nipah virus, a human pathogen that emerged in 1998 during a large outbreak of infection and disease among pigs and pig farmers in Southeast Asia.

Why do older adults display more positive emotion? It might have to do with what they're looking at
Research has shown that older adults display more positive emotions and are quicker to regulate out of negative emotional states than younger adults.

NIST focuses on testing standards to support lab on a chip commercialization
Lab on a chip (LOC) devices are microchip-size systems that can prepare and analyze tiny fluid samples with volumes ranging from a few microliters (millionth of a liter) to sub-nanoliters (less than a billionth of a liter).

Southampton to lead national project to develop 'IT as a Utility'
We rely implicitly on things such as our cars and our electricity supply; but how can we encourage the same level of trust in and use of IT utility services?

Humanities mini-courses for doctors sharpen thinking and creativity
Mini-courses designed to increase creative stimulation and variety in physicians' daily routines can sharpen critical thinking skills, improve job satisfaction and encourage innovative thinking, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers who piloted a series of such courses.

Stress makes men appreciate heavier women
Increased stress in men is associated with a preference for heavier women, according to research published Aug.

Neolithic tools provide clues for managing climate change
Coping with climate change presents a number of challenges, but we may be able to get some hints from our ancestors.

Natural birth -- but not C-section -- triggers brain-boosting proteins
Vaginal birth triggers the expression of a protein in the brains of newborns that improves brain development and function in adulthood, according to a new study by Yale School of Medicine researchers, who also found that this protein expression is impaired in the brains of offspring delivered by cesarean section.

Physics and math shed new light on biology by mapping the landscape of evolution
Researchers capture evolutionary dynamics in a new theoretical framework that could help explain some of the mysteries of how and why species change over time.

UF researchers discover earliest use of Mexican turkeys by ancient Maya
A new University of Florida study shows the turkey, one of the most widely consumed birds worldwide, was domesticated more than 1,000 years earlier than previously believed.

MARC travel awards announced for the 2012 ECCB/ISCB Conference
The FASEB MARC Program has announced the travel award recipients for the 2012 European Conference on Computational Biology, an official conference of the International Society for Computational Biology in Basel, Switzerland from Sept.

A new model for predicting recovery after spinal cord injury
A new model based on motor scores at admission and early imaging studies may allow clinicians to predict functional outcomes and guide decision-making for therapy and care-giving needs, as described in an article published in Journal of Neurotrauma.

A new global warming culprit: Dam drawdowns
Washington State University researchers have documented an underappreciated suite of players in global warming: dams, the water reservoirs behind them, and surges of greenhouse gases as water levels go up and down.

Do beavers benefit Scottish wild salmon?
Reintroduced European beavers could have an overall positive impact on wild salmon populations in Scotland, according to a study by the University of Southampton.

Tai Chi shown to improve COPD exercise capacity
Tai Chi can be used as an effective form of exercise therapy for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to new findings.

EARTH: Shake, rattle and roll
A team of researchers may have discovered a way to hear earthquakes.

Meerkats acquire novel behavior using 9 different social and asocial mechanisms
A novel methodology shows that Wild meerkats engage in nine separate learning processes during foraging, and this method may provide general insight into learning mechanisms for groups of animals and culture development.

Berlin beats London and Washington in league table of world's best democratic space
New research from the University of Warwick suggests that Berlin has the best democratic space in the world, topping a list that includes London, Washington and Tokyo.

Let's talk: The nature of the health care surrogate-clinician relationship
A new study from the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University School of Medicine examines the relationship between family members who make decisions for hospitalized older adults with impaired cognition and the doctors, nurses and other clinicians who care for these patients.

Crossing 5+ time zones more than doubles illness risk for elite athletes
Elite athletes who cross more than five time zones to compete are around two to three times as likely to get ill as when they compete on their home turf, suggests research published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Astronomers release the largest ever 3-D map of the sky
The Sloan Digital Sky Survey III has released the largest three-dimensional map of massive galaxies and distant black holes ever created.

Protein that boosts longevity may protect against diabetes
According to a new MIT study, a protein that slows aging in mice and other animals also protects against the ravages of a high-fat diet, including diabetes.

Gum disease 4 times as common in rheumatoid arthritis patients
Gum disease is not only four times as common among patients with the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis as it is among their healthy peers, but it also tends to be more severe, indicates a small study published online in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Student performance improves when teachers given incentives upfront
A bonus payment to teachers can improve student academic performance -- but only when it is given upfront, on the condition that part of the money must be returned if student performance fails to improve, research shows.

Minimally invasive building renovation
Renovation projects to improve the energy performance of residential buildings involve a lot of messy construction work.

Clinical trials start for stroke drug developed by Scripps Research, USC, and ZZ Biotech
Clinical trials start this week for a stroke drug initially created by a team led by scientists at the Scripps Research Institute and the University of Southern California, and further developed by biotech company ZZ Biotech.

Yoga proves to reduce depression in pregnant women, boost maternal bonding
Can prenatal yoga treat depression?

New substances 15,000 times more effective in destroying chemical warfare agents
In an advance that could be used in masks to protect against nerve gas, scientists are reporting development of proteins that are up to 15,000 times more effective than their natural counterpart in destroying chemical warfare agents.

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev receives $450,000 grant to conduct oil and natural gas research
One of the grant projects being conducted at the Blechner Center is focused on using a novel method for conversion of natural gas to syngas through catalytic partial oxidation for downstream treatment of natural gas.

New Herceptin® delivery method could vastly simplify breast cancer treatment
A new method of delivering a commonly used breast cancer drug could result in considerably less time spent in hospital for some women undergoing breast cancer treatment, according to the results of a phase three trial published Online First in the Lancet Oncology.

University of Leicester announces record £7 million donation
Gift from the John and Lucille van Geest Foundation will pave way for new era of 'personalized medicine' with creation of unique UK facility for cardiovascular science.

CU-Boulder-led team discovers new atmospheric compound tied to climate change, human health
An international research team led by the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Helsinki has discovered a surprising new chemical compound in Earth's atmosphere that reacts with sulfur dioxide to form sulfuric acid, which is known to have significant impacts on climate and health.

Back-to-the-future process yields 'miracle wood'
A back-to-the-future technology, first used more than 100 years ago, has put a new form of wood on the market - a veritable

Weather prediction task: Learning achievement with and without stress
Stressed and non-stressed persons use different brain regions and different strategies when learning.

Depression linked with increased risk of peripheral artery disease
Depression was linked with an increased risk of peripheral artery disease in a study of more than one thousand men and women with heart disease conducted by researchers at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco.

Scientists report successful vaccine developed against deadly Nipah virus
A team of federal and university scientists reports a major breakthrough in the development of a highly effective vaccine against the deadly Nipah virus.

Queen's University Belfast makes significant cancer breakthrough
The discovery could see the development of new therapies, which would target the non-cancerous cells surrounding a tumor, as well as treating the tumor itself.

New study finds clients want real love from sex workers
While it is commonly believed that men who pay for sex are attempting to avoid emotional commitment, a new study finds that men who become regular clients of sex workers often develop feelings of romance and love.

No difference in death rates among patients exposed to common rheumatoid arthritis drugs
New research confirms no significant difference in the rates of death among patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who were exposed to one of several TNF inhibitors used to treat RA, adalimumab (Humira), etanercept (Enbrel), and infliximab (Remicade).

Clinical trial results support strategy for reversing type 1 diabetes
A phase I clinical trial has confirmed that use of a generic vaccine to raise levels of an immune system modulator can cause the death of autoimmune cells targeting the insulin-secreting cells of the pancreas and temporarily restore insulin secretion in human patients with type 1 diabetes.

Adolescents in substance abuse programs report using other's med marijuana
A recent study by University of Colorado School of Medicine researchers shows that it is very common for adolescents in substance abuse treatment to use medical marijuana recommended to someone else (also known as

Feeling fat may make you fat
Normal weight teens who perceive themselves as fat are more likely to grow up to be fat, Norwegian researchers report in a study published in the Journal of Obesity.

Study finds US among few NATO nations that use animals for military training
New study finds that more than three-quarters of NATO nations do not use animal laboratories for military medical training.

How JFK helped Barack Obama on his way to the White House
As US President Barack Obama turns 51 this month, new research suggests imagery of one of his most iconic predecessors, JFK, helped Obama on his way to the White House.

Genomic study of rare children's cancer yields possible prognostic tool
A new study of the genetic makeup, or genome, of Ewing sarcoma, a rare cancer that strikes children, teenagers, and young adults, has produced multiple discoveries: A previously unknown sarcoma subtype, genetic factors related to long-term survival, and identification of a genetic change between the primary and metastatic stages of the disease that could lead to better, more targeted treatment.

Benefit of PET and PET/CT in ovarian cancer is not proven
Due to the lack of studies, there is currently no proof that patients with ovarian cancer can benefit from positron emission tomography alone or in combination with computed tomography.

MARC travel awards announced for the 2012 American Society of Human Genetics Annual Meeting
The FASEB MARC Program has announced the travel award recipients for the 2012 American Society of Human Genetics Annual Meeting in San Francisco, Calif., from Nov.

With microchip real estate at a premium, Drexel engineers look for a wireless solution
A team of Drexel University engineers are adding reconfigurable, wireless antennas to microchips in hopes of freeing up space on the tiny silicon wafers - a development that could change the paradigms of microchip architecture.

How heat helps to treat cancer
Research at Bangor University has identified a switch in cells that may help to kill tumors with heat.

Study: One week of therapy may help reorganize brain, reduce stuttering
Just one week of speech therapy may reorganize the brain, helping to reduce stuttering, according to a study published in the August 8, 2012, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Internists recommend principles on role of governments in regulating patient-physician relationship
The American College of Physicians today released a paper, Statement of Principles on the Role of Governments in Regulating the Patient-Physician Relationship, which recommends principles for the role of federal and state governments in health care and the patient-physician relationship.

Early human ancestors had more variable diet
An international team of researchers, including Professor Francis Thackeray, Director of the Institute for Human Evolution at Wits University in South Africa, will be publishing their latest research on what our early ancestors ate, online in the prestigious journal, Nature, on Wednesday, the Aug.

Scientists discover the truth behind Colbert's 'truthiness'
Trusting research over their guts, scientists in New Zealand and Canada examined the phenomenon Stephen Colbert, comedian and news satirist, calls

Shelling out evidence: NIST ballistic standard helps tie guns to criminals
Thanks to a new reference standard developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, law enforcement agencies will have an easier time linking the nearly 200,000 cartridge cases recovered annually at US crime scenes to specific firearms.

Alcohol advertising standards violations most common in magazines with youthful audiences
The content of alcohol ads placed in magazines is more likely to be in violation of industry guidelines if the ad appears in a magazine with sizeable youth readership, according to a new study from the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth.

New phenomenon in nanodisk magnetic vortices
New findings from a team of Berkeley Lab and Japanese scientists suggest that the road to magnetic vortex RAM might be more difficult to navigate than previously supposed, but there might be unexpected rewards as well.

Leveraging bacteria in drinking water to benefit consumers
Contrary to popular belief, purified drinking water from home faucets contains millions to hundreds of millions of widely differing bacteria per gallon, and scientists have discovered a plausible way to manipulate those populations of mostly beneficial microbes to potentially benefit consumers. 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