Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 23, 2012
Formula unlocks secrets of cauliflower's geometry
The laws that govern how intricate surface patterns, such as those found in the cauliflower, develop over time have been described, for the first time, by a group of European researchers.

Summer babies less likely to be CEOs: UBC research
Sauder School of Business researchers at the University of British Columbia have found that a person's date of birth can affect their climb up the corporate ladder.

New Big Data journal launched at Strata + Hadoop World, NY
To address the complicated questions surrounding the powerful and growing field of data discovery, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers has released an exclusive preview issue of Big Data at the Strata + Hadoop World conference in New York City.

Migratory birds can spread haemorrhagic fever
A type of haemorrhagic fever that is prevalent in Africa, Asia, and the Balkans has begun to spread to new areas in southern Europe.

Medical recommendations should go beyond race, scholar says
Medical organizations that make race-based recommendations are misleading some patients about health risks while reinforcing harmful notions about race, argues a Michigan State University professor in a new paper published in the journal Preventive Medicine.

Biologists record increasing amounts of plastic litter in the Arctic deep sea
The seabed in the Arctic deep sea is increasingly strewn with litter and plastic waste.

Study: Amish children are 2 times more physically active than non-Amish children
Old Order Amish children are much more physically active and three times less likely to be overweight than non-Amish children, which may provide them with some long-term protection against developing Type 2 diabetes, University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers report in the journal Diabetes Care.

Highly efficient production of advanced biofuel by metabolically engineered microorganism
A Korean research team led by Distinguished Professor Sang Yup Lee at the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, KAIST, applied a systems metabolic engineering approach to improve the production of butanol through enhancing the performance of Clostridium acetobutylicum, one of the best known butanol-producing bacteria.

NASA view of Atlantic's Tropical Depression 19 shows backwards 'C' of strong storms
Infrared imagery from the AIRS instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite revealed that the strongest thunderstorms within the Atlantic Ocean's Tropical Depression 19 seem to form a backwards letter

Nanofibrillar cellulose film to ease performing medical tests
Researchers at Aalto University in Finland have succeeded in developing a durable and affordable nanofibrillar cellulose film platform to support medical testing.

Helping North America's marine protected areas adapt to a changing climate
The Commission for Environmental Cooperation has published Scientific Guidelines for Designing Resilient Marine Protected Area Networks in a Changing Climate in collaboration with the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea and based on the work of thirty-three of North America's top experts.

The complex association between moderate alcohol consumption and breast cancer
An excellent review article from two scientists at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in the USA to be published in Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2012, describes the epidemiologic and basic scientific evidence linking alcohol consumption to the risk of breast cancer.

Increased use of colonoscopy screening could explain decrease in colorectal cancer rates
Use of colonoscopy for colorectal cancer screening could explain a significant decrease in the cancer's incidence over the past decade, according to a new study from researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Effective treatment helps Danes with personality disorders
A study conducted by Aarhus University, Business and Social Sciences and the Clinic for Personality Disorders at Aarhus University Hospital shows that modern psychoanalytic therapy has a good effect on patients with severe personality disorders.

Lifting weights protects against metabolic syndrome
People who lift weights are less likely to have metabolic syndrome -- a cluster of risk factors linked to heart disease and diabetes, reports a study in the October issue of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, official research journal of the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Men with certain cardiovascular risk factors may be at increased risk of peripheral artery disease
Among nearly 45,000 men who were followed up for more than two decades, those with the risk factors of smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol, and Type 2 diabetes had an associated greater risk of developing PAD.

NASA's hot tower research confirmed again with Tropical Storm Sandy
The eighteenth tropical depression only took six hours to strengthen into Tropical Storm Sandy, confirming NASA research that sighting of hot towers leads to intensification.

Moffitt researchers study how patterns, timing of sunlight exposure contribute to skin cancers
Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center, the University of South Florida and the International Agency for Research on Cancer in France have studied the patterns and timing of sunlight exposure and how each is related to two nonmelanoma skin cancers - basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

Independent panel to present findings on diagnosing gestational diabetes mellitus
The NIH Consensus Development Conference: Diagnosing Gestational Diabetes Mellitus is occurring Oct.

Genetic patterns of deep-sea coral provide insights into evolution of marine life
The ability of deep-sea corals to harbor a broad array of marine life, including commercially important fish species, make these habitat-forming organisms of immediate interest to conservationists, managers, and scientists.

Open access: Delivering on its potential
This week, October 22-28, marks Open Access Week, a global event that brings various parties together to discuss, publicize and advocate for open access.

TIM and TAM: 2 paths used by the Dengue virus to penetrate cells
A study carried out by Ali Amara's team at the combined Inserm/CNRS- Université Paris Diderot

Mining social media to discover vehicle defects
Virginia Tech researchers evaluate a new process and decision support system to identify and prioritize automotive defects using social media.

NJIT math professor calls Detroit Tigers a favorite to win World Series
Since the Major League Baseball Division Series and League Championship Series have determined which teams will compete in the World Series, NJIT math professor Bruce Bukiet has again analyzed the probability of each team taking the title.

Lives could be saved by removing age restrictions on rotavirus vaccination
A study published in this week's PLOS Medicine, which suggests that the additional children's lives saved by removing the age restrictions for rotavirus vaccination in low- and middle-income countries would be much greater than any extra deaths from vaccine-associated complications (namely, intussusception-a form of bowel obstruction), has informed policy regarding the age restrictions for this vaccine.

Gene polymorphisms identified that are responsible for breast density and cancer risk
It has long been known that breast density, or mammographic density, is a strong risk factor for breast cancer, and that estrogen and progestin hormone therapy increases dense breast tissue.

Don't be so fast to judge a cat by its color, new study warns
Just like humans, domestic cats are often judged by their color, and the media and folklore help perpetuate these stereotypes.

19 species of ferns named for Lady Gaga
Pop music megastar Lady Gaga is being honored with the name of a new genus of ferns found in Central and South America, Mexico, Arizona and Texas.

Hanging in there: Koalas have low genetic diversity
A species relies on genetic diversity to survive and low diversity usually indicates that there has been inbreeding due to a decrease in population size.

Quantum computing with recycled particles
A research team from the University of Bristol's Centre for Quantum Photonics have brought the reality of a quantum computer one step closer by experimentally demonstrating a technique for significantly reducing the physical resources required for quantum factoring.

Noninvasive assay monitored treatment response in patients with metastatic prostate cancer
Assay analyzes individual cancer cells in blood. The pattern of cell signaling through androgen receptor changes with treatment.

Combination of Gulf oil and dispersant spell potential trouble for gut microbes
In a study to be published in mBio on Tuesday, Oct.

Study explains connection between Hawaii's dueling volcanoes
A new study by scientists at Rice University, the University of Hawaii, the US Geological Survey and the Carnegie Institution of Washington finds that a deep connection about 50 miles underground can explain the enigmatic behavior of two of Earth's most notable volcanoes, Hawaii's Mauna Loa and Kilauea.

Louisiana Tech University to host 'Nanotechnology for Louisiana' conference
Louisiana Tech University's College of Engineering and Science will host industry leaders from throughout the region as well as faculty and research experts from Louisiana Tech at the

Lubricants from vegetable oil
Oil-independence is the dream of many countries that lack raw materials.

Silver medal-winning sailor, technology test pilot launches book
Jenifer French, a sailor who won a silver medal at this summer's London Paralympics, describes in a new book how cutting-edge medical technology from the Cleveland Functional Electrical Stimulation Center allowed her to resume an active life after being paralyzed 14 years ago.

New Jersey's teen driver decals linked with fewer crashes
New research from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia links teen driver

World's most advanced mirror for giant telescope completed
Scientists at the University of Arizona and in California have completed the most challenging large astronomical mirror ever made.

Engaging parents leads to better treatments for children with adhd
A first-of-its kind tool may help parents and health care providers better treat ADHD in children using a

Prior cardiac surgery does not mean worse outcomes for STEMI patients who receive stent
Contrary to previous data, patients with prior open heart surgery, or coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG), who have a severe heart attack (STEMI) and receive a coronary stent have similar outcomes to patients without previous CABG, based on study of a large, prospective, regional STEMI network, being presented Oct.

Perfect pitch: Knowing the note may be in your genes
People with perfect pitch seem to possess their own inner pitch pipe, allowing them to sing a specific note without first hearing a reference tone.

With new mass spectrometer, researchers can grow knowledge of plants and environmental stress
A Kansas State University professor's research analyzing lipids is helping scientists around the world understand plant responses and develop better crops that can withstand environmental stress.

EARTH: Earthquake? Blame it on the rain
The USGS website states it in no uncertain terms:

New paper examines shifting gears in the circadian clock of the heart
A new study conducted by a team of scientists led by Giles Duffield, assistant professor of biological sciences and a member of the Eck Institute for Global Health at the University of Notre Dame focuses on the circadian clock of the heart, and used cultured heart tissue.

National Science Foundation director selected as 2013 Franklin Institute Laureate
The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia has selected National Science Foundation Director Subra Suresh to receive the 2013 Benjamin Franklin medal for his research in mechanical engineering and materials science.

Puppies don't pick up on yawns
Do you get tired when others yawn? Does your dog get tired when you yawn?

Quasar may be embedded in unusually dusty galaxy
Hubble astronomers have looked at one of the most distant and brightest quasars in the universe and are surprised by what they did not see: the underlying host galaxy of stars feeding the quasar.

Influence in times of crisis: How do men and women evaluate precarious leadership positions?
We've all heard of the

Droplet response to electric voltage in solids exposed
For the first time, scientists have observed how droplets within solids deform and burst under high electric voltages.

Acupuncture relieves symptoms of a dry mouth caused by radiotherapy for head and neck cancers
Patients who have received radiotherapy for head and neck cancer often suffer from the unpleasant and distressing side-effect of a dry mouth, caused by damage to their salivary glands from the radiation.

Tiny pores in graphene could give rise to membranes
New membranes from single sheets of graphene may filter water or separate biological samples.

Lung mucus gel scaffold prevents nanoparticles from getting through
Scientists at the Saarland University and the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research unraveled lung mucus's physical properties: They discovered that a rigid gel scaffold in lung mucus separates large, fluid-filled pores and prevents nanoparticle movement beyond individual pore boundaries.

Low adoption by large hospital ICUs of catheter-associated urinary tract infection precautions
The study found that large hospitals -- those with more than 500 beds -- had a 1.5 higher average rate of CAUTI than hospitals with 500 beds or less.

Are schizophrenia and autism close relations?
Dr. Mark Weiser of Tel Aviv University studied extensive genetic databases to discover that autism and schizophrenia had a genetic link, representing a heightened risk within families.

Genetic marker for placebo response identified in IBS patients
Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have identified the first genetic differences to explain why placebos help some patients -- and not others.

Self-powered sensors to monitor nuclear fuel rod status
Japan's Fukushima Dai'ichi nuclear disaster that occurred in 2011 -- a result of the strongest earthquake on record in the country and the powerful tsunami waves it triggered -- underscored the need for a method to monitor the status of nuclear fuel rods that doesn't rely on electrical power.

UNM Cancer Center researcher looks for genetic markers for ovarian cancer
Dr. Linda Cook recently won a four-year NCI grant to study the mitochondrial DNA differences in over 4,200 Canadian women with and without ovarian cancer.

Mechanical ventilation at lower level among patients without lung injury linked with better outcomes
Among patients without acute respiratory distress syndrome, protective mechanical ventilation with use of lower tidal volumes (the volume of air inhaled and exhaled during each breath) was associated with better outcomes including less lung injury, lower mortality, fewer pulmonary infections and a shorter hospital length of stay.

UH professor to lead international drilling expedition
From finding the first deep-water hydrocarbons in the Gulf of Mexico to locating the meteorite impact that doomed the dinosaurs, ocean drilling has unlocked major mysteries.

Oxygen's ups and downs in the early atmosphere and ocean
A team led by geochemists at the University of California, Riverside challenges the simple notion of an up-only trend for early oxygen on Earth, and provides the first compelling direct evidence for a major drop in oxygen after the gas's first rise.

Blood chromosome differences are linked to pancreatic cancer
A new study shows that a blood marker is linked to pancreatic cancer, according to a study published today by scientists at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center and Mayo Clinic.

New WalMart stores put large retailers out of business, mom-and-pop stores less affected
Ranked as one of America's largest corporations and the largest private employer in the United States, some say that WalMart stores are catalysts for economic growth in US communities, while others claim that they can have damaging effects on local shops.

NASA sees active region on the sun emit another flare
The sun emitted a significant solar flare on Oct. 22, 2012, peaking at 11:17 pm EDT.

Simple, inexpensive risk score can shorten length of stay for MI patients
A simple-to-use risk score can identify low-risk patients following a severe heart attack and may provide an opportunity to employ early discharge strategies to reduce length of hospital stay and save hospital costs without compromising the safety of the patient, based on a study presented by the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation on Oct.

UH Architecture Program earns Mayor's Proud Partner Award
UH's Graduate Design/Build Studio soon will be presented with the Mayor's Proud Partner Award by Keep Houston Beautiful for its work on an outdoor solar-powered outdoor classroom/butterfly pavilion.

Penn Medicine researchers map strategy for 'choosing wisely' on low-value health care services
Cutting the expenses associated with

Twitter principles of social networking increase family success in nesting birds
New research carried out by scientists at Universities in Exeter, France and Switzerland reveals for the first time the importance of social networking in producing a successful family.

Fossil study helps pinpoint extinction risks for ocean animals
What makes some ocean animals more prone to extinction? An analysis of roughly 500 million years of fossil data for marine invertebrates reveals that ocean animals with small ranges have been consistently hard hit, whereas population size has little effect.

Vanderbilt researchers find that diabetes drug could be effective in treating addiction
Vanderbilt researchers are reporting today that a drug currently used to treat type 2 diabetes could be just as effective in treating addiction to drugs, including cocaine.

Experts call for wildlife conservation network
It's time to establish a national network for wildlife conservation, bringing together state, federal and private initiatives to coordinate planning and work toward common goals, 11 prominent wildlife biologists and policy experts write in the journal BioScience.

Open data partnership leads to release of data from Nobel Prize-winning laboratory for public use
LabArchives, a provider of online lab notebook software, and BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Research Notes has published Mutagenetix, an online open access repository of ENU-generated data.

Parents look on the bright side of kids' worries
Parents consistently overestimate their children's optimism and downplay their worries, according to new research by psychologists at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain.

Personalized feedback makes healthcare workers twice as likely to clean their hands
A major three-year trial led by researchers at UCL, in partnership with the Health Protection Agency, has shown that giving one-to-one feedback to healthcare workers makes them twice as likely to clean their hands or use soap.

Training your robot the PaR-PaR way
PaR-PaR, a simple high-level, biology-friendly, robot-programming language developed by researchers at JBEI and Berkeley Lab, uses an object-oriented approach to make it easier to integrate robotic equipment into biological laboratories.

Mercyhurst University study to identify levels of sucralose in Erie beach waters
Researchers at Mercyhurst University continue to investigate the presence of potentially harmful chemicals in the beach waters of Presque Isle State Park and have added a new one to their list: sucralose.

Opposite behaviors? Arctic sea ice shrinks, Antarctic grows
The steady and dramatic decline in the sea ice cover of the Arctic Ocean over the last three decades has become a focus of media and public attention.

Local wildlife is important in human diets
Animals like antelope, frogs and rodents may be tricky to catch, but they provide protein in places where traditional livestock are scarce.

Improving medical research education across Europe
Fostering and improving medical research education is crucial to biomedical research and clinical patient treatment, and as such it has been identified as the main challenge in every joint European Science Foundation - European Research Medical Councils strategy report.

Taking the risk out of lending to low income groups
People on low incomes who find it impossible to secure affordable loans can now access finance more readily following a successful Knowledge Transfer Partnership project jointly funded by Economic and Social Research Council and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

New guide for compiling national species checklists
The Global Biodiversity Information Facility has published a new guide on policies and procedures to capture information for national species checklists.

Making transport a driver for development in Africa
A new report by a panel of international experts highlights policies to improve air quality road safety and congestion, supporting African development.

The Generation X report
Less than half of Generation X adults can identify our home in the universe, a spiral galaxy, according to a University of Michigan report.

Zeroing in on the 'science of sound propagation' in burning buildings
An acoustic navigation system being developed by a team of University of Texas at Austin researchers studying the science of sound propagation inside burning buildings may one day become a life-saving addition to firefighters' arsenal of tools.

Scientists propose revolutionary DNA-based approach to map the wiring diagram of the brain
A team of neuroscientists have proposed a new and potentially revolutionary way of determining the neuronal connectivity (the

Next-generation vaccines -- eliminating the use of needles
Scientists at Royal Holloway, University of London have developed a pioneering new method of oral vaccination which could help boost immunity to TB and influenza, as well as prevent C. difficile for which there is currently no vaccine.

Protein levels could predict if bowel cancer patients will benefit from Avastin
Comparing levels of specific proteins that the drug Avastin targets could identify patients with advanced bowel cancer who will benefit from the treatment, according to research published in Clinical Cancer Research today.

A circuit diagram of the mouse brain
Max Planck scientists aim to analyze a whole mouse brain under the electron microscope.

Iowa State researchers double down on heat to break up cellulose, produce fuels and power
Iowa State University engineers and researchers have built and are testing a bio-oil gasifier.

Leading European experts call for more rigorous scientific evidence for healthcare interventions
Leading clinicians and health researchers from across Europe say much greater emphasis must be placed on the scientific evidence for the effectiveness of treatments and other healthcare interventions to ensure patients receive the best care available.

Neuroscientists propose revolutionary DNA-based approach to map wiring of whole brain
A team of neuroscientists has proposed a new and potentially revolutionary way of obtaining a neuronal connectivity map (the

High-pressure science gets super-sized
The study of materials at extreme conditions took a giant leap forward with the discovery of a way to generate super high pressures without using shock waves whose accompanying heat turns solids to liquid.

Wayne State University startup biotech company receives Michigan Emerging Technologies Fund award
Advaita Corporation, a startup company based on technology developed at Wayne State University by Sorin Draghici, Ph.D., professor of computer science in the College of Engineering, received the final installment of a $125,000 award from the Michigan Emerging Technologies Fund program.

New finding could pave way to faster, smaller electronics
UC Davis researchers for the first time have looked inside gallium manganese arsenide, a type of material known as a

Provider-initiated HIV testing does not affect clients' rights
A new study reported in this week's PLOS Medicine reports findings from a study carried out in four African countries by Carla Makhlouf Obermeyer and colleagues on approaches towards expanding testing and counseling for HIV.

New American Chemical Society videos celebrate 25 years of National Chemistry Week
The American Chemical Society today released two new videos celebrating the 25th Anniversary of National Chemistry Week.

Turbulent flows in 2D can be calculated in new model
Turbulent flows have challenged researchers for centuries. It is impossible to predict chaotic weather more than a week in advance.

Most large treatment effects of medical interventions come from small studies
In an examination of the characteristics of studies that yield large treatment effects from medical interventions, these studies were more likely to be smaller in size, often with limited evidence, and when additional trials were performed, the effect sizes became typically much smaller.

Whale racket: Sounding out how loud the oceans were from whale vocalizing prior to industrial whaling
Concern is growing that human-generated noise in the ocean disrupts marine animals that rely on sound for communication and navigation.

Research on DNA access mechanism could offer novel ways to treat cancer
Dr. Mary Ann Osley recently won a 4-year grant renewal to continue her epigenetic research on histone modifications.

New discoveries in treating heart disease focus of SDSU symposium
Prominent cardiac researchers will meet at San Diego State University in November to explore bold new approaches to treating the number one threat to US adults -- heart disease.

Neutron experiments give unprecedented look at quantum oscillations
Researchers at ORNL have found that nitrogen atoms in the compound uranium nitride exhibit unexpected, distinct vibrations that form a nearly ideal realization of a physics textbook model known as the isotropic quantum harmonic oscillator.

Researchers report widespread Internet use by caregivers of children with shunts
Faced with disease, patients and caregivers turn to the Internet for information and emotional support.

Analysis of dinosaur bone cells confirms ancient protein preservation
A team of researchers from North Carolina State University and the Palo Alto Research Center has found more evidence for the preservation of ancient dinosaur proteins, including reactivity to antibodies that target specific proteins normally found in bone cells of vertebrates.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital image of blood-brain barrier wins photo competition
Among thousands of entries, Nikon has awarded its top honor to Jennifer Peters, Ph.D., and Michael Taylor, Ph.D., of St.

Scripps Research Institute scientists receive $2.7 million to investigate major therapeutic target
A consortium of scientists from both campuses of the Scripps Research Institute has been awarded $2.7 million from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health to study the structural rules that govern a large superfamily of proteins that help regulate critical functions such as reproduction, development and metabolism.

Is declining medical imaging use driving up hospital stays and medical costs?
A new report by the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute shows that the length of the average hospital stay in the United States has increased at the same time as use of medical imaging scans has declined.

Study shows New Jersey's decal for young drivers reduced crashes
A new study shows that NJ's law requiring novice drivers to display a red decal on their license plates has prevented more than 1,600 crashes and helped police officers enforce regulations unique to new drivers.

Product regulatory systems in low-and middle-income countries must be strengthened
When regulatory systems for medical products in low-and middle-income countries work, people live but when such systems fail, people die, according to experts from the US Food and Drug Administration writing in this week's PLOS Medicine.

New vitamin-based treatment that could reduce muscle degeneration in muscular dystrophy
Boosting the activity of a vitamin-sensitive cell adhesion pathway has the potential to counteract the muscle degeneration and reduced mobility caused by muscular dystrophies, according to a research team led by scientists at the University of Maine.

Scientists build 'mechanically active' DNA material
Researchers at UC Santa Barbara have created a dynamic gel made of DNA that mechanically responds to stimuli in much the same way that cells do.

Grandmas made humans live longer
Computer simulations provide new mathematical support for the

Limitations to the 'revolutionary' findings of online studies
'Direct to consumer' research, using data obtained through increasingly popular online communities such as 23andMe, PatientsLikeMe and the Personal Genome Project, has methodological limitations that are known to epidemiological studies, including selection bias, information bias, and confounding.

CMRE participates for the first time in the Science Festival 2012
How can science help fighting piracy? How are intelligent robots and cooperative networks taking over the underwater world?

Did bacteria spark evolution of multicellular life?
Choanoflagellates are single-celled plankton and the closest living relatives of animals, including humans.

Precisely targeted electrical brain stimulation alters perception of faces, Stanford study finds
In a study to be published Oct. 24 in the Journal of Neuroscience, the scientists showed that mild electrical stimulation of two nerve clusters spaced a half-inch apart in a brain structure called the fusiform gyrus caused the subject's perception of faces to instantly become distorted while leaving his perception of other body parts and inanimate objects unchanged. 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