Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 30, 2012
Biophysicists unravel secrets of genetic switch
Emory University biophysicists have experimentally demonstrated, for the first time, how the nonspecific binding of a protein known as the lambda repressor, or C1 protein, bends DNA and helps it close a loop that switches off virulence.

The evolution of the mustards' spice
The tangy taste a mustard plant develops to discourage insect predators can be the difference between life and death for the plants.

NASA watching Tropical Storm Isaac drench US Gulf Coast region and lower Mississippi River Valley
NASA satellites are providing forecasters with data on rainfall rates within Tropical Storm Isaac as it continues to track over Louisiana, Mississippi and spread northward into the lower Mississippi Valley.

SAGE to launch United European Gastroenterology Journal
SAGE and United European Gastroenterology (UEG) today announced an agreement to launch United European Gastroenterology Journal (UEG Journal) in February 2013.

Leaders' emotional cues may predict acts of terror or political aggression
Leaders often use rousing speeches to evoke powerful emotions, and those emotions may predict when a group will commit an act of violence or terrorism, according to new research published in the journal Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression.

More heart problems with 2 chemo drugs for breast cancer
Women who have breast cancer and are treated with two chemotherapy drugs may experience more cardiac problems like heart failure than shown in previous studies, according to a new Cancer Research Network study by Group Health researchers and others in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Crop Science Society of America presents 2012 class of fellows
The Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) announces the following 2012 Fellows that will be formally recognized during their Annual Meetings, Oct.

NASA sees Tropical Storm Tembin make landfall in South Korea
Tropical Storm Tembin made landfall in the in southwestern South Korea and NASA's Aqua satellite captured the extent of the storm's elongated cloud cover, revealing the effect of wind shear on the storm.

New genetic risk factor for inflammation identified in African-American women
African-Americans have higher blood levels of a protein associated with increased heart-disease risk than European Americans, despite higher

Scientists sequence the genome of Neandertal relatives, the Denisovans
A new report describes the complete sequence of the Denisovan genome, shedding light on the relationships between these archaic humans, who were closely related to Neandertals, and modern humans.

Cardiovascular risk evaluation for all men should include assessment of sexual function
The purpose of the Princeton III meeting was to find an approach for optimizing sexual function and preserving cardiovascular health in men with known cardiovascular disease and to develop a primary approach to cardiovascular risk assessment in younger men with erectile dysfunction and no cardiovascular disease.

Study identifies prime source of ocean methane
Up to four percent of the methane on Earth comes from the ocean's oxygen-rich waters, but scientists have been unable to identify the source of this potent greenhouse gas.

Water pipe smoking has the same respiratory effects as smoking cigarettes
A new study published in the journal Respirology reveals that water pipe smoking, such as hookah or bong smoking, affects lung function and respiratory symptoms as much as cigarette smoking.

State tax incentives do not appear to increase the rate of living organ donation
The policies that several states have adopted giving tax deductions or credits to living organ donors do not appear to have increased donation rates.

Major astronomy meeting draws to a close
The XXVIIIth General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) ends today in Beijing.

Record-breaking stellar explosion helps understand far-off galaxy
Astronomers took advantage of the most distant supernova of its type to probe a galaxy some 9.5 billion light years away.

People merge supernatural and scientific beliefs when reasoning with the unknown, study shows
A new psychology study finds adults are more likely than children to find supernatural explanations for existential questions.

Urinary protein excretion -- even in the normal range -- raises diabetics' heart risks
For patients with type 2 diabetes, any degree of measurable urinary protein excretion -- even in what is considered the normal range -- increases their risk of experiencing heart problems.

Healthy living into old age can add up to 6 years to your life
Living a healthy lifestyle into old age can add five years to women's lives and six years to men's, finds a study from Sweden published on today.

Possible therapy for tamoxifen resistant breast cancer identified
A study has discovered how tamoxifen-resistant breast-cancer grows and proliferates.

Millipede family added to Australian fauna
An entire group of millipedes previously unknown in Australia has been discovered by a specialist - on museum shelves.

Chemical exposure in the womb from household items may contribute to obesity
Pregnant women who are highly exposed to common environmental chemicals -- polyfluoroalkyl compounds (PFCs) -- have babies that are smaller at birth and larger at 20 months of age, according to a new study.

Walls of lunar crater may hold patchy ice, LRO radar finds
Small patches of ice could make up at most five to ten percent of material in walls of Shackleton crater.

Biodiversity conservation depends on scale: Lessons from the science-policy dialogue
A paper published in the open access journal Nature Conservation examines the mismatches between the scales at which ecological processes take place and the levels at which policy decisions and management interventions are made.

Shedding new light on one of diabetes' most dangerous complications
For many diabetics, monitoring their condition involves much more than adhering to a routine of glucose sensing and insulin injections.

Study explores medical exemptions from school vaccination requirements across states
In states where medical exemptions from vaccination requirements for kindergarten students are easier to get, exemption rates are higher, potentially compromising herd immunity and posing a threat to children and others who truly should not be immunized because of underlying conditions, according to a study published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases and now available online.

University of Leicester takes delivery of unique eye imaging equipment
New technology will help scientists study eye disorders in infants, thanks to charitable donations.

No-till farming helps capture snow and soil water
A smooth blanket of snow in the winter can help boost dryland crop productivity in the summer, and no-till management is one way to ensure that blanket coverage, according to U.S.

New research uncovers diverse metabolic roles for PML tumor suppressor gene
Two papers led by scientific teams from the Cancer Genetics Program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center shed new light on the genetic mechanisms underlying cellular energy and metabolism and, at the same time, highlight both the challenges and opportunities of genetic approaches to cancer treatment.

Study gives new insight on inflammation
Scientists' discovery of an important step in the body's process for healing wounds may lead to a new way of treating inflammation.

First validated method for analyzing flavanols and procyanidins in cocoa products could help scientists and the industry in standardized reporting
Mars, Incorporated, working in partnership with AOAC International, has successfully completed a multi-laboratory, first-of-its-kind validation of a method for analyzing flavanols and procyanidins in cocoa-based products.

Bitter tastes quickly turn milk chocolate fans sour
Dark chocolate lovers can handle a wider range of bitter tastes before rejection compared to milk chocolate fans, according to Penn State food scientists.

University of Tennessee Space Institute researchers make clinical trials a virtual reality
Researchers at the University of Tennessee Space Institute in Tullahoma have developed an invention that makes clinical trials more efficient by moving them into the virtual world.

Domestic coal use linked to substantial lifetime risk of lung cancer in Xuanwei, China
The use of

NASA spies fifth Atlantic hurricane and twelfth tropical depression
Tropical Storm Kirk intensified into a hurricane today, Aug. 30, while another tropical depression was born.

University at Buffalo, TACC receive funding to evaluate XSEDE clusters
A National Science Foundation grant is funding the University at Buffalo and the Texas Advanced Computing Center at the University of Texas at Austin to evaluate the effectiveness of high-performance computing (HPC) systems in the NSF Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment program and HPC systems in general.

Ecological monitoring on bird populations in Europe re-evaluated
A paper published in the open access journal Nature Conservation examined Europe's long experience in monitoring the populations of birds.

Strong female portrayals eliminate negative effects of violent media
Men and women are less likely to experience negative effects to sexual violent media when watching a positive portrayal of a strong female character, even when that character is a victim of sexual violence.

Early menopause: A genetic mouse model of human primary ovarian insufficiency
Scientists have established a genetic mouse model for primary ovarian insufficiency (POI), a human condition in which women experience irregular menstrual cycles and reduced fertility, and early exposure to estrogen deficiency.

'Hulk' protein, Grb10, controls muscle growth
Scientists may soon help people grow strong muscles without needing to hit the weight room.

Studying everyday eye movements could aid in diagnosis of neurological disorders
Researchers at the University of Southern California have devised a method for detecting certain neurological disorders through the study of eye movements.

Moving toward regeneration
The skin, the blood, and the lining of the gut -- adult stem cells replenish them daily.

A surprisingly bright superbubble
A new image from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes has revealed a surprisingly bright superbubble forming in a nearby nebula.

Kidney stones linked with small increased risk of later kidney problems
Kidney stones are associated with a small but significant increased risk of developing more serious kidney problems later in life, suggests a study published on today.

American Society of Agronomy presents 2012 class of fellows
The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) announces the following 2012 Fellows that will be formally recognized during their Annual Meetings, Oct.

Uncoiling the cucumber's enigma
Captivated by a strange coiling behavior in the grasping tendrils of the cucumber plant, researchers at Harvard University have characterized a new type of spring that is soft when pulled gently and stiff when pulled strongly.

Lyme retreatment guidance may be flawed
A new statistical review calls into question studies that have been taken as proof that antibiotic retreatment for chronic Lyme disease is futile.

WSU researchers discover mechanism leading from trichomoniasis to prostate cancer
Researchers have identified a way in which men can develop prostate cancer after contracting trichomoniasis, a curable but often overlooked sexually transmitted disease.

Weill Cornell awarded $1.8 million for translational blood cancer research
Weill Cornell Medical College has been awarded three new research grants from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society totaling $1.8 million.

Delivering solar geoengineering materials may be feasible and affordable
A cost analysis of the technologies needed to transport materials into the stratosphere to reduce the amount of sunlight hitting Earth and therefore reduce the effects of global climate change has shown that they are both feasible and affordable.

Affluent people less likely to reach out to others in times of trouble?
Crises are said to bring people closer together. But a new study from the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that while the have-nots reach out to one another in times of trouble, the wealthy are more apt to find comfort in material possessions.

A model for development
As an animal develops from an embryo, its cells take diverse paths, eventually forming different body parts -- muscles, bones, heart.

NASA spotted hot towers in Ileana that indicated its increase to hurricane status
Hot towers are towering clouds that emit a tremendous amount of latent heat (thus, called

Unexpected finding shows climate change complexities in soil
In a surprising finding, North Carolina State University researchers have shown that certain underground organisms thought to promote chemical interactions that make the soil a carbon sink actually play a more complex, dual role when atmospheric carbon levels rise.

Researchers launch new 'Rust-Tracker' to monitor deadly wheat fungus in 27 nations
The world's top wheat experts today reported a breakthrough in their ability to track Ug99 and related strains of a deadly and rapidly mutating wheat pathogen called stem rust that threatens wheat fields from East Africa to South Asia.

Yellowstone into the future
In the September issue of GSA TODAY Guillaume Girard and John Stix of McGill University in Montreal join the debate regarding future scenarios of intracaldera volcanism at Yellowstone National Park, USA.

Ant behavior tracked by tiny radio receivers in pioneering scientific study
Researchers from the University of York are fitting one thousand northern hairy wood ants with tiny radio receivers in a world first experiment to find out how they communicate and travel between their complex nests.

Los Alamos provides HOPE for radiation belt storm probes
Los Alamos National Laboratory expertise in radiation detection and shielding is poised to help a national team of scientists better understand a mysterious region that can create hazardous space weather near our home planet.

Wayne State's new flexible electronics technology may lead to new medical uses
A Wayne State University researcher has developed technology that opens new possibilities for health care and medical applications of electronic devices.

Science study shows 'promiscuous' enzymes still prevalent in metabolism
Open an undergraduate biochemistry textbook and you will learn that enzymes are highly efficient and specific in catalyzing chemical reactions in living organisms, and that they evolved to this state from their

Protein impedes microcirculation of malaria-infected red blood cells
MIT-led research team finds that protein significantly reduces infected cells' ability to squeeze through tiny channels compared to healthy cells.

What babies eat after birth likely determines lifetime risk of obesity, rat study suggests
Rats born to mothers fed high-fat diets but who get normal levels of fat in their diets right after birth avoid obesity and its related disorders as adults, according to new Johns Hopkins research.

£30 million boost for biomedical engineering research
The Wellcome Trust and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council announce the launch of a joint £30 million initiative to find biomedical engineering solutions to challenging healthcare problems.

Science research led in Gulf of Mexico by Penn State biologist to be honored with US award
A research project in the Gulf of Mexico has revealed new discoveries of coral communities, new findings on the ecology and population genetics of the deep-water corals and communities, marine archaeological discoveries, and new data on growth rates of corals on oil platforms and shipwrecks.

Early activation of immune response could lead to better vaccines
Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have discovered a new

Human and soil bacteria swap antibiotic-resistance genes
Soil bacteria and bacteria that cause human diseases have recently swapped at least seven antibiotic-resistance genes, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

UBC researchers seek to engage students in STEM careers with science outreach toolkit
Outreach programs that offer a taste of real-world science and pair secondary students with enthusiastic young researchers are key to promoting careers in science and technology, according to UBC researchers.

Antibody prevents hepatitis C in animal model
A monoclonal antibody developed by MassBiologics of the University of Massachusetts Medical School and tested in an animal model at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, prevents infection by the hepatitis C virus.

IFA 2012: Mobile perspective in regional public transportation
At the IFA Consumer Electronics Unlimited trade show (Hall 11.1, Booth 10) in Berlin from August 31 - September 5, developers from Fraunhofer's FOKUS will exhibit how to link information to mobile devices and to public displays.

Cancer 'turns off' important immune cells, complicating experimental vaccine therapies
Research published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology examines why some cancer vaccines are not effective, while identifying a new therapeutic strategy for treating autoimmune problems.

Lab course that starts with students' own ideas wins Science magazine prize
With Exploring Gold Nanoparticles, the course module chosen to win the Science Prize for Inquiry-Based Instruction, students receive a chemical equation for the synthesis of gold nanoparticles.

No more sneezing, allergen-free house plants
New research published in BioMed Central's open-access journal BMC Plant Biology shows how targeting two bacterial genes into an ornamental plant (Pelargonium), can produce long-lived and pollen-free plants.

Does wisdom really come with age? It depends on the culture
It's certainly comforting to think that aging benefits the mind, if not the body.

Gender bias in leading scientific journals
Fewer women than men are asked to write in the leading scientific journals.

Many US schools are unprepared for another pandemic
Less than half of U.S. schools address pandemic preparedness in their school plan, and only 40 percent have updated their school plan since the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, according to a study published in the September issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

'Nanoresonators' might improve cell phone performance
Researchers have learned how to mass produce tiny mechanical devices that could help cell phone users avoid the nuisance of dropped calls and slow downloads.

IADR/AADR published study estimates high prevalence of periodontis in US adults
Today, the International and American Associations for Dental Research released a study titled

Soil Science Society of America presents 2012 class of fellows
The Soil Science Society of America announces the following 2012 Fellows that will be formally recognized during their Annual Meetings, Oct.

Researchers measure photonic interactions at the atomic level
By measuring the unique properties of light on the scale of a single atom, researchers from Duke University and Imperial College, London, believe that they have characterized the limits of metal's ability in devices that enhance light.

Viruses could be the key to healthy corals
Proffesor Eugene Rosenberg of Tel Aviv University has developed a treatment for the White Plague disease that infects coral based on a medication developed to treat bacterial infections in humans.

Ancient genome reveals its secrets
Max Planck researchers describe Denisovan genome, illuminating the relationships between Denisovans and present-day humans.

Smartphone app can track objects on the battlefield as well as on the sports field
University of Missouri researchers have developed new software using smartphones' GPS and imaging abilities, that determine the exact location of distant objects as well as monitor the speed and direction of moving objects.

New equipment is breath of fresh air for children's lung researchers
University of Leicester researchers gain UK's first Exhalyzer-D device.

Researchers identify potential treatment for cognitive effects of stress-related disorders
Columbia University Medical Center researchers have identified a potential medical treatment for the cognitive effects of stress-related disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder.

Monogamy and the immune system
Researchers from UC Berkeley examined the differences between two species of mice -- one monogamous and one promiscuous -- on a microscopic and molecular level.

Plants' fungi allies may not help store climate change's extra carbon
Fungi found in plants may not be the answer to mitigating climate change by storing additional carbon in soils as some previously thought, according to an international team of plant biologists.

How gene profiling in emphysema is helping to find a cure
New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal Genome Medicine has identified genes whose activity is altered with increasing lung damage and, using a database of drug effects on gene activity (the Connectivity Map), finds that the compound Gly-His-Lys (GHK) affects the activity of these genes.

New cybersecurity tool suite demonstrated this week
A new suite of cybersecurity software tools is being demonstrated at Idaho National Lab this week.

Cancer gene family member functions key to cell adhesion and migration
A UNC-led team of scientists used sophisticated technologies to identify and describe the protein interactions that distinguish each member of the WTX family.

New DNA-method tracks fish and whales in seawater
Danish researchers at University of Copenhagen lead the way for future monitoring of marine biodiversity and resources.

Kidney stenting lowers blood pressure in patients with severe hypertension
Patients with uncontrolled renovascular hypertension saw a significant improvement in their blood pressure with renal artery stent deployment.

Scientists call policy-makers to be scale-aware
Conservation is concerned with the preservation of biological diversity at all levels, from genes to species, communities and ecosystems.

Microbes help hyenas communicate via scent
Bacteria in hyenas' scent glands may be the key controllers of communication.

Keep your distance! Why cells and organelles don't get stuck
Biomembranes enclose biological cells and surround organelles that carry out vital functions.

Increased sediment and nutrients delivered to bay as Susquehanna reservoirs near sediment capacity
Reservoirs near the mouth of the Susquehanna River just above Chesapeake Bay are nearly at capacity in their ability to trap sediment.

Discovery may help protect crops from stressors
Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have discovered a key genetic switch by which plants control their response to ethylene gas, a natural plant hormone best known for its ability to ripen fruit, but which, under stress conditions, can cause wilted leaves, premature aging and spoilage from over-ripening.

Bees that go 'Cuckoo' in others' nests
Researchers from Charles University in Prague and the University of Kansas have documented a remarkable diversity of cuckoo bees in the Cape Verde Islands.

Health reform: How community health centers could offer better access to subspecialty care
Though the Affordable Care Act will fund more community health centers, making primary care more accessible to the underserved, this may not necessarily lead to better access to subspecialty care.

Immunodeficient patients with secondary lung disease benefit from combined chemotherapy
A team of researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Children's Hospital of Wisconsin Research Institute defined a new treatment for a potentially fatal lung disease in patients with a primary immunodeficiency known as common variable immunodeficiency.

NC State leads national effort to evaluate fresh water sustainability in the southern US
North Carolina State University is leading a four-year federal research effort to evaluate freshwater sustainability across the southern United States and develop policy recommendations on what can be done to make the best use of water supplies in the face of population growth and the effects of climate change over the next 10 to 30 years.

Up in the air: Heating by black carbon aerosol re-evaluated
Black carbon, in the form of soot particles, has been ranked just behind carbon dioxide for its role in warming regional and global climates.

Rice, MD Anderson scientists probe mystery of operon evolution
New research this week in PLOS Computational Biology suggests a possible explanation for the organization of operons, jointly controlled clusters of genes that evolved in bacterial chromosomes. 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