Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 21, 2012
Looking 1 cell at a time in the brain to better understand pain, learning, memory
Scientists are developing profiles of the contents of individual brain cells in a search for the root causes of chronic pain, memory loss and other maladies that affect millions of people.

Eating cool: What to eat to beat the heat
With millions of people already weather-worn after a summer punctuated by record heat, and some of the hottest days still ahead, the American Chemical Society today is hosting a special briefing,

Catalan researchers identify a key component of cell division
A study by the Institute for Research in Biomedicine and the Center for Genomic Regulation highlights the protein Nek9 as a decisive factor in cell division, a fundamental process for both the development of an organism and tissue maintenance.

Research reveals unique solution to gene regulation
Research on a unique vertebrate called the sea lamprey shows that more than a thousand genes are shed during its early development.

Antibiotic use in infants before 6 months associated with being overweight in childhood
Treating very young infants with antibiotics may predispose them to being overweight in childhood, according to a study of more than 10,000 children by researchers at the NYU School of Medicine and the NYU Wagner School of Public Service and published in the online Aug.

Flood risk ranking reveals vulnerable cities
A new study of nine coastal cities around the world suggests that Shanghai is most vulnerable to serious flooding.

Sanctuary chimps show high rates of drug-resistant staph
Chimpanzees from African sanctuaries carry drug-resistant, human-associated strains of the bacteria Staphlyococcus aureus, a pathogen the infected chimpanzees could spread to endangered wild ape populations if they were reintroduced to their natural habitat.

UCLA/Technion study uncovers brain's code for pronouncing vowels
Scientists have unraveled how our brain cells encode the pronunciation of individual vowels in speech.

Infants' avoidance of drop-off reflects specific motor ability, not fear
Researchers have long studied infants' perceptions of safe and risky ground by observing their willingness to cross a visual cliff, a large drop-off covered with a solid glass surface.

Spouses of people suffering a heart attack need care for increased risk of depression and suicide
Spouses of people who suffer a sudden heart attack have an increased risk of depression, anxiety, or suicide after the event, even if their partner survives, according to new research to be published online on Wednesday in the European Heart Journal.

Targeting sugars in the quest for a vaccine against HIV -- the virus that causes AIDS
As a step toward designing the first effective anti-HIV vaccine, scientists are reporting new insights into how a family of rare, highly potent antibodies bind to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and neutralize it -- stop it from infecting human cells.

Study shows long-term effects of radiation in pediatric cancer patients
Of 15 patients who received TBI before age 3, many developed endocrine and metabolic problems including testicular malfunction (78 percent), restrictive pulmonary disease due to high levels of blood triglycerides (74 percent), and cataracts (78 percent).

New laboratory test assesses how DNA damage affects protein synthesis
In transcription genetic information from DNA is copied to messenger RNA for protein production.

Book highlights dangers of 'narrative IEDs' -- and how to counter them
As a Navy reservist, SF State Professor and Chair of Cinema Daniel Bernardi knows the power rumor has to disrupt military operations.

Self-charging power cell converts and stores energy in a single unit
Researchers have developed a self-charging power cell that directly converts mechanical energy to chemical energy, storing the power until it is released as electrical current.

A little music training goes a long way
A little music training in childhood goes a long way in improving how the brain functions in adulthood when it comes to listening and the complex processing of sound, according to a new Northwestern University study.

Soybeans susceptible to man-made materials in soil
Researchers contend that manufactured nanomaterials -- now popular in consumer products such as shampoos, gels, hair dyes and sunscreens -- may be detrimental to the quality and yield of food crops, as reported in a paper in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

'Electronic nose' prototype developed
Research by Nosang Myung, a professor at the University of California, Riverside, Bourns College of Engineering, has enabled a Riverside company to develop an

USC civil engineer recognized as 1 of world's top young innovators by MIT's Technology Review
USC Professor Burcin Becerik-Gerber is named to Technology Review's 2012 TR35 list for

Researchers highlight treatment, research needs for homeless families
A new paper from North Carolina State University calls for more research on how to help homeless families with children who are facing mental-health problems, as well as changes in how shelters are treating these families.

Language barrier creates legal hurdles for Brits in Turkey
Many Brits who move to Turkey are failing to grasp local and international laws, leaving them financially at risk when making legal transactions, such as buying property, a study from Queen Mary, University of London has found.

MRI findings shed light on multiple sclerosis
New magnetic resonance imaging research shows that changes in brain blood flow associated with vein abnormalities are not specific for multiple sclerosis and do not contribute to its severity, despite what some researchers have speculated.

Statin therapy associated with lower risk of pancreatitis
Although some studies have suggested that use of lipid-lowering therapies may increase the risk of pancreatitis, an analysis that involved pooling of data from previous studies and included more than 150,000 participants found that statin therapy was associated with a reduction in the risk of pancreatitis in patients with normal or mildly elevated triglyceride levels.

Multiple factors, including climate change, led to collapse and depopulation of ancient Maya
A new analysis of complex interactions between humans and the environment preceding the 9th century collapse and abandonment of the Central Maya Lowlands in the Yucatan Peninsula points to a series of events -- some natural, like climate change; some human-made, including large-scale landscape alterations and shifts in trade routes -- that have lessons for contemporary decision-makers and sustainability scientists.

Communicating controversial science: A symposium honoring Rudy M. Baum
The American Chemical Society (ACS), the world's largest scientific society, is holding a special symposium today honoring Rudy M.

Compounds shown to thwart stubborn pathogen's social propensity
In a study by UW-Madison chemistry Professor Helen Blackwell and her colleagues, and published online in the journal ACS Chemical Biology, certain small molecule chemicals that can disrupt quorum sensing in A. baumanni have been identified, providing a glimmer of hope that the stubborn pathogen can be tamed.

Sleep improves memory in people with Parkinson's disease
People with Parkinson's disease performed markedly better on a test of working memory after a night's sleep, and sleep disorders can interfere with that benefit, researchers have shown.

Many options, good outcomes, for early-stage follicular lymphoma
A University of Rochester Medical Center study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, challenges treatment guidelines for early stage follicular lymphoma, concluding that six different therapies can bring a remission, particularly if the patient is carefully examined and staged at diagnosis.

New attack on pain
A research team from the University of Melbourne is working on a new therapy that can potentially control the pain caused by diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Drastic desertification
Over the past 10,000 years, climate changes in the Dead Sea region have led to surprisingly swift desertification within mere decades.

Research identifies mechanism responsible for eye movement disorder
A research team from King's College London and the University of Exeter Medical School has identified how a genetic mutation acts during the development of nerves responsible for controlling eye muscles, resulting in movement disorders such as Duane Syndrome, a form of squint.

Clemson scholar receives top agriculture science award
Clemson University scientist Chittaranjan Kole was awarded the Outstanding Crop Scientist Award by the International Crop Science Society.

Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation welcomes Europace publication of Optim™ lead insulation paper
The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, an international leader in cardiovascular research, today announces the online publication of a study in EP Europace that raises serious concerns about St.

ORNL technology moves scientists closer to extracting uranium from seawater
Fueling nuclear reactors with uranium harvested from the ocean could become more feasible because of a material developed by a team led by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Study to examine trends in urban agriculture
Farming in the city is a hot topic in some circles, but an exact picture of urban agriculture has not yet been painted.

'Alzheimer protein' seems to slow down neurotransmitter production
Researchers report how abnormal protein deposits in the brains of Alzheimer's patients disrupt the signaling between nerve cells.

2 CU-Boulder student rocket payloads set for launch Aug. 23
A sounding rocket launching from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia Aug.

Viruses with integrated gene switch
Scientists of the German Cancer Research Center have developed

IHME professor named first health measurement winner of prestigious innovation award
For the first time, a prestigious technical innovation honor from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will go to an expert in health measurement: Abraham Flaxman, an Assistant Professor of Global Health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

Teva Pharmaceuticals Scholars awardees describe discoveries on cancer, hepatitis, drug delivery
Current recipients of a prestigious award from the world's largest scientific society will present results of their research here today, and new recipients of the Teva Pharmaceuticals Scholars Grants will be announced during a symposium at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

The first ant methylomes uncover the relationship between DNA methylation and caste differentiation
The first ant methylomes uncover the relationship between DNA methylation and caste differentiation.

Baylor scientists build database for more accurate and efficient soil-based climate reconstruction
Baylor University scientists are developing a soils database that will help geologists and soil scientists to more quickly and accurately analyze data from fossilized soils to determine and reconstruct ancient climates.

NASA satellites see 2 intensifying northwestern Pacific tropical cyclones
There's double trouble in the northwestern Pacific Ocean in the form of Typhoon Tembin and Tropical Storm Bolaven.

Study shows heart calcium scan most effective in predicting risk of heart disease
Heart calcium scans are far superior to other assessment tools in predicting the development of cardiovascular disease in individuals currently classified at intermediate risk by their doctors, according to researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Low oxygen levels may decrease life-saving protein in spinal muscular atrophy
Investigators at Nationwide Children's Hospital may have discovered a biological explanation for why low levels of oxygen advance spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) symptoms and why breathing treatments help SMA patients live longer.

Equality laws fail to protect working women from budget cuts
The UK government has failed to apply laws that protect working women in the wake of the economic crisis, suggests a new study from Queen Mary, University of London.

Groundbreaking clinical trial looks at fecal transplant as treatment for C. difficile
A new NIH research grant awarded to Colleen Kelly, M.D., of the Women's Medicine Collaborative, and co-investigators will test whether an unconventional yet promising treatment known as fecal transplantation is an effective therapy for patients with relapsing C. difficile.

New catalyst could improve production of glass alternatives
University of Oregon chemists have identified a catalyst that could dramatically reduce the amount of waste made in the production of methyl methacrylate, a monomer used in the large-scale manufacturing of lightweight, shatter-resistant alternatives to glass such as Plexiglas.

New solar panels made with more common metals could be cheaper and more sustainable
With enough sunlight falling on home roofs to supply at least half of America's electricity, scientists today described advances toward the less-expensive solar energy technology needed to roof many of those homes with shingles that generate electricity.

GSA partners with SEG to support Geoscientists Without Borders®
Geoscientists Without Borders® recently gained its first Society Supporter of the flagship program after The Geological Society of America's (GSA) Council approved the partnership Memorandum of Agreement at its recent meeting in Boulder, Colorado.

Hands-on supercomputing
TACC's weeklong Summer Supercomputing Institute introduces researchers to the role of supercomputing in 21st century science and provides a hands-on experience with TACC's supercomputing resources.

Forest razing by ancient Maya worsened droughts, says study
Prolonged drought is thought to have played a role in the collapse of the Classic Maya empire, but a study published this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters adds a new twist: The Maya may have made the droughts worse by clearing away forests for cities and crops, making a naturally drying climate drier.

Advances in decades-old dream of mining seawater for uranium
Scientists today reported progress toward a 40-year-old dream of extracting uranium for nuclear power from seawater, which holds at least 4 billion tons of the precious material.

Natural regeneration building urban forests, altering species composition
A study by US Forest Service scientists published recently in Urban Forestry and Urban Greening showed that on average, one in three trees in sampled cities were planted while two-thirds resulted from natural regeneration.

Measure of coronary artery calcium linked with improved prediction of cardiovascular disease risk
In a comparison of novel cardiovascular risk markers, coronary artery calcium, ankle-brachial index, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, and family history were independent predictors of coronary heart disease/cardiovascular disease in intermediate-risk individuals beyond traditional risk factors, with coronary artery calcium providing superior discrimination and risk reclassification compared with other risk markers

NASA sees an active tropical Atlantic again
The Atlantic Ocean is kicking into high gear with low pressure areas that have a chance at becoming tropical depressions, storms and hurricanes.

New technology to transform blood processing
A pioneering surgical blood salvage technology developed at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, is set to transform the way major surgery is carried out by reducing blood loss in patients.

Common antifungal drug decreases tumor growth and shows promise as cancer therapy
An inexpensive antifungal drug, thiabendazole, slows tumor growth and shows promise as a chemotherapy for cancer.

WPI receives $1.9 million from US Army to develop sensors that can save wounded soldiers
With a $1.9 million grant from the US Army, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute will develop miniaturized wireless sensors that can detect blood loss to save the lives of soldiers wounded on the battlefield.

RI Hospital researcher: Older women may not benefit from radiotherapy after breast surgery
A Rhode Island Hospital radiation oncologist says in a new editorial that research exploring the impact of radiotherapy in older women with low risk of breast cancer recurrence has little effect on actual clinical decisions.

UI instruments aboard twin NASA spacecraft set for launch Aug. 24
On Aug. 24, NASA will launch two identical satellites from Cape Canaveral, Fla., to begin its Radiation Belt Storm Probes mission to study the extremes of space weather and help scientists improve space weather forecasts.

NIH awards $7.8 million for innovative HIV vaccine approaches
NIAID has awarded 14 grants totaling $7.8 million in first-year funding for basic research to identify new approaches for designing a safe and effective HIV vaccine.

Dawn of humanity illuminated in special journal edition - 50 years after the Leakeys
The first systematic, multidisciplinary results to come out of research conducted on the edge of the Serengeti at the rich palaeoanthropological site in the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania since that produced by Louis and Mary Leakey's team, have recently been published in a special issue of the prestigious Journal of Human Evolution.

For poorer children, living in a high-cost area hurts development
Researchers have found that young children in lower-income families who live in high-cost areas don't do as well academically as their counterparts in low-cost areas.

New survey: Women want to SEE breast reconstruction results before cancer surgery
A new survey released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons shows that 89 percent of women want to see what breast reconstruction surgery results would look like before undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

LPA1 inhibition induces metastatic dormancy in mouse models of breast cancer
A lysophosphatidic acid receptor 1 (LPAR1) inhibitor, known as Debio-0719, suppresses the development of metastases in mice by inducing cancer cell dormancy, according to a study published Aug.

Stem cells can become anything - but not without this protein
In a finding that could be important to the use of all kinds of stem cells in treating disease, scientists have discovered the crucial role of a protein called Mof in preserving the 'stem-ness' of stem cells, and priming them to become specialized cells in mice.

Space technology for old buildings
Old buildings are beautiful - and hard to insulate. Empa and the Swiss render manufacturer Fixit AG together developed a new Aerogel-based plaster that provides twice the insulation of currently used insulating renders.

L'Oréal Fellowship winner seeks to improve blood cancer treatments
A desire to improve the survival of people with blood cancers and reduce the side-effects of their anti-cancer treatments has seen Walter and Eliza Hall Institute researcher Dr.

Use of newer-generation drug-releasing stent results in lower rate of adverse cardiac events
Compared with a bare-metal stent, the use of a stent with a biodegradable polymer that releases the drug biolimus resulted in a lower rate of major adverse cardiac events at 1 year among patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI; a certain pattern on an electrocardiogram following a heart attack) undergoing primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI; procedures such as balloon angioplasty or stent placement used to open narrowed coronary arteries).

Time with parents is important for teens' well-being
This study finds that although parent-teen time when others were also present declined from the early to late teen years, parent-teen time with just the parent and the teen present actually increased in early and middle adolescence -- a finding that contradicts the stereotype of teens growing apart from their parents.

Brazil joins international marine research effort
Brazil recently joined an international marine research effort to document environmental change by monitoring and sampling the unseen world beneath the sea floor.

Time with parents is important for teens' well-being
Teenagers are famous for seeking independence from their parents, but research shows that many teens continue to spend time with their parents and that this shared time is important for teens' well-being, according to Penn State researchers.

Public health needs a radical shake up, say experts
Public health needs a radical shake up if it is to enable good health to flourish, say experts on today.

Chain of violence
Children exposed to ethnic and political violence in the Middle East are more aggressive than other children, and the younger the child, the stronger the effect.

'CSI' technology holds potential in everyday medicine
A scientific instrument featured on CSI and CSI: Miami for instant fingerprint analysis is forging another life in real-world medicine, helping during brain surgery and ensuring that cancer patients get effective doses of chemotherapy, a scientist said here today at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

Researchers identified markers that predict progression of oral lesions to cancer
Patients with oral lesions can be grouped according to risk level.

New version of 150-year-old law could ease student debt and college funding cutbacks
Members of a panel today commemorating the 150th anniversary of federal legislation that transformed college education for people in the 19th and 20th centuries said that a 21st century counterpart to the Morrill Act of 1862 could ease the staggering load of student debt and help colleges and universities cope with state funding cut-backs.

Scientists find protein that promotes cancers, heart disease; create substance to block its effects
Strong scientific evidence suggests that high levels of a blood protein called galectin-3 may increase the risk of heart attacks, cancer and other diseases, and help forecast the outcome of those diseases, a scientist reported here today at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

Acai counteracts oxidative stress, lengthens lifespan in fruit flies
Scientists found that a commercially available acai berry product can lengthen the lives of fruit flies, when the flies' lives are made short through additional oxidative stress.

Don't get mad, get creative
It's not just in movies where nerds get their revenge.

Fueling nuclear power with seawater
A new absorbent material may be able to soak up enough trace uranium in seawater to help fuel future nuclear power plants.

No ordinary forget-me-nots
Two new species of forget-me-nots were discovered in the mountains of New Zealand.

Sacrificing sleep to study can lead to academic problems
Regardless of how much a high school student generally studies each day, if that student sacrifices sleep in order to study more than usual, he or she is more likely to have academic problems the following day.

Back in style
A team led by Travis Metcalfe of the Space Science Institute is using the NSF's Kraken supercomputer to help NASA's Kepler mission identify Earth-like planets.

Lifestyle changes among disadvantaged groups key to tackling diabetes
Unhealthy behaviors like being overweight, smoking and heavy drinking explain almost half of the social inequalities in type 2 diabetes, finds a study published on today.

Ethnic and political violence increases children's aggressive behavior
A longitudinal study in the Middle East finds that ethnic and political violence can increase violence in families, schools, and communities, which can in turn boost children's aggressiveness, especially among eight-year-olds.

New form of long-used food ingredient for 'anti-hunger' yogurts, smoothies
Promising results were reported here today from a proof-of-concept clinical trial of an

In your future: More healthful foods to nourish the non-human you
The focus of nutrition for good health is quietly shifting to include consumption of food ingredients specifically designed to nourish the non-human cells that comprise 80 percent of the cells in the typical person, an authority on the topic said here today at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

Time flies when you're having goal-motivated fun
Though the seconds tick by at a regular pace, our experience of time is anything but uniform.

Thinking and choosing in the brain
The frontal lobes are the largest part of the human brain, and damage to this area can result in profound impairments in reasoning and decision making.

Silicone foul release coatings show promise to manage invasive mussels at water facilities
Reclamation has found that silicone foul release coatings may be an important tool for mitigating invasive quagga and zebra mussels' impacts to water and hydropower infrastructure. 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