Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 06, 2012
Attitudes predict ability to follow post-treatment advice
Women are more likely to follow experts' advice on how to reduce their risk of an important side effect of breast cancer surgery--like lymphedema--if they feel confident in their abilities and know how to manage stress, according to new research from Fox Chase Cancer Center to be presented at the 2012 CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium on Saturday, Dec.

Johns Hopkins study reveals what makes nonprofits special
Despite their diversity, US nonprofits are in basic agreement that seven core values -- being productive, effective, enriching, empowering, responsive, reliable, and caring -- set the nonprofit sector apart from government and for-profit businesses, according to a new report.

Fermi improves its vision for thunderstorm Gamma-ray flashes
Thanks to improved data analysis techniques and a new operating mode, the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor aboard NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope is now 10 times better at catching the brief outbursts of high-energy light mysteriously produced above thunderstorms.

Silver nanocubes make super light absorbers
Microscopic metallic cubes could unleash the enormous potential of metamaterials to absorb light, leading to more efficient and cost-effective large-area absorbers for sensors or solar cells, Duke University researchers have found.

Severe acute kidney injuries rise rapidly nationwide
Severe acute kidney injuries are becoming more common in the United States, rising 10 percent per year and doubling over the last decade, according to a retrospective study at the University of California, San Francisco.

Don't cut corners when it comes to clean knives
Although it is well recognized that utensils used for food preparation can harbor bacteria, a new study by Qing Wang and her colleagues from the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia, USA, is the first to find that viruses can just as easily be spread by cross-contamination from utensils such as knives and graters.

Fasting may benefit patients with epilepsy, Johns Hopkins Children's Center study suggests
Children with persistent and drug-resistant seizures treated with the high-fat, low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet may get an added therapeutic benefit from periodic fasting, according to a small Johns Hopkins Children's Center study.

Gene network illuminates stress, mutation and adaptation responses
For much of her professional life, Dr. Susan Rosenberg has studied the puzzling response of bacteria to stress and the mutations that result.

Apollo's lunar dust data being restored
Forty years after the last Apollo spacecraft launched, the science from those missions continues to shape our view of the moon.

New antidepressant acts very rapidly and is long lasting
A first-of-its-kind antidepressant drug discovered by a Northwestern University professor and now tested on adults who have failed other antidepressant therapies has been shown to alleviate symptoms within hours, have good safety and produce positive effects that last for about seven days from a single dose.

New evidence for epigenetic effects of diet on healthy aging
New research in human volunteers has shown that molecular changes to our genes, known as epigenetic marks, are driven mainly by aging but are also affected by what we eat.

Stirred, not shaken: Bond for future ships, iMacs has ONR roots
A state-of-the-art welding process refined for use in naval shipbuilding by the Office of Naval Research has crossed over to the world of computing.

Serious acute kidney injury: More common than ever
The incidence of the most severe form of acute kidney injury has increased 10 percent per year on average over the past decade.

Nordic cooperation following dramatic increase in tick-borne infections
Last year, more than 40,000 people in Western Scandinavia may have been affected by infections caused by ticks.

Study IDs gene that turns carbs into fat
UC Berkeley researchers have identified a gene that plays a critical role in converting dietary carbohydrates into fat.

My microbes
We all have E.coli bacteria in our gut but each of us carries a version that is genetically slightly different.

137 new species described by California Academy of Sciences in 2012
In 2012, researchers at the California Academy of Sciences added 137 new relatives to our family tree, enriching our understanding of the complex web of life on Earth and strengthening our ability to make informed conservation decisions.

How cold will a winter be in 2 years?
How well are the most important climate models able to predict the weather conditions for the coming year or even the next decade?

The world's big trees are dying
The largest living organisms on the planet, the big, old trees that harbor and sustain countless birds and other wildlife, are dying.

Moths wired two ways to take advantage of floral potluck
Moths are able to enjoy a pollinator's buffet of flowers -- in spite of being among the insect world's picky eaters -- because of two distinct

UT MD Anderson study finds link between statins and improved survival in inflammatory breast cancer
Researchers from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center found statins, the commonly used drug to lower cholesterol, improved progression-free survival in patients with inflammatory breast cancer.

His and hers: Male hormones control differences in mammary gland nerve growth
Johns Hopkins scientists have found a surprising mechanism that gives male sex hormones like testosterone control over the gender-specific absence or presence of mammary gland nerves that sense the amount of milk available in breast milk ducts.

Valuable tool for predicting pain genes in people
Scientists in Australia and Austria have described a

Fit kids finish first in the classroom
Fit kids aren't only first picked for kickball. New research from Michigan State University shows middle school students in the best physical shape outscore their classmates on standardized tests and take home better report cards.

Copper, gold and tin for efficient chips
With gold, copper or tin and special galvanizing processes, scientists are improving the function of semi-conductors and making the manufacture of microelectronic systems a child's play.

Insect-eating bat outperforms nectar specialist as pollinator of cactus flowers
In a surprising result, scientists at UC Santa Cruz have found that the insect-eating pallid bat is a more effective pollinator of cardon cactus flowers than a nectar-feeding specialist, the lesser long-nosed bat.

Disgust circuit: Flies sniff out and avoid spoiled food
The ability to detect rotten food is so crucial for survival that even flies have a dedicated neural circuit to do just that, according to a study published on Dec.

A direct line through the brain to avoid rotten food -- a full STOP signal for Drosophila
Consuming putrid food can be lethal as it allows bacterial pathogens to enter the digestive system.

Cargill expands support of Notre Dame Haiti Program
The Notre Dame Haiti Program and Cargill have renewed their partnership to eliminate lymphatic filariasis (LF) in Haiti.

Immune system kill switch could be target for chemotherapy and infection recovery
Researchers have discovered an immune system 'kill switch' that destroys blood stem cells when the body is under severe stress, such as that induced by chemotherapy and systemic infections.

The skills that make us a good partner make us a good parent
Being a good partner may make you a better parent, says a new study.

NSF launches GROW to accelerate international research collaborations
Today NSF Director Subra Suresh announced Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide, a new and coordinated effort that will expand and enhance international collaborative research opportunities for NSF Graduate Research Fellows, with initial agreements with science agencies in eight countries.

Seeing in color at the nanoscale
If nanoscience were television, we'd be in the 1950s. Although scientists can make and manipulate nanoscale objects with increasingly awesome control, they are limited to black-and-white imagery for examining those objects.

'Releasing' people from Catholic guilt increases generosity towards church, research shows
People who recall being absolved of their sins, are more likely to donate money to the church, according to research published today in the journal Religion, Brain and Behavior.

Closer look at consumers' gazes
How does a product's placement on the storeroom shelf influence which one a consumer ultimately chooses?

LSUHSC research finding keys to future obesity & related diseases
Melinda Sothern, Ph.D., CEP, Professor and Director of the Behavioral and Community Health Sciences Program at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Public Health, has been awarded $675,000 in grant funding to advance her research on the role of social, genetic, environmental and behavioral determinants of future obesity.

Kids' sleep-related breathing problems
Children with sleep-related breathing problems (such as snoring or apnea) frequently have concurrent behavioral sleep problems (such as waking repeatedly).

New understanding can lead to srategies for dealing with neurodegenerative diseases
A new understanding of what takes place on the cellular level during the development of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, ALS and Huntington's diseases, offers promise towards possible new strategies for combating such diseases, say Hebrew University of Jerusalem researchers.

Cocktail boosts immune cells in fighting cancer
Natural killer cells, as part of the body´s immune system, can effectively fight cancer.

Aging hepatitis C population escalates demand for liver transplantation
New research reveals that the greatest demand for liver transplantation due to hepatitis C-related liver disease occurs among Americans born between 1941 and 1960.

Researchers discover regulator linking exercise to bigger, stronger muscles
Scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have isolated a previously unknown protein in muscles that spurs their growth and increased power following resistance exercise.

Neuroscientists prove ultrasound can be tweaked to stimulate different sensations
Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute scientists have proven with fMRI and EEG that ultrasound applied to the periphery, such as fingertips, can stimulate sensory pathways to the brain.

Feeling disgust may enhance our ability to detect impurities
From an evolutionary standpoint, experiencing the intense, visceral sense of revulsion that comes with disgust presumably helps us to avoid contaminants that can make us sick or even kill us.

European Romani exodus began 1,500 years ago, DNA evidence shows
Despite their modern-day diversity of language, lifestyle, and religion, Europe's widespread Romani population shares a common, if complex, past.

General thoracic surgeons emerge as leading providers of complex, noncardiac thoracic surgery
While thoracic surgeons are traditionally known as the experts who perform heart surgeries, a UC Davis study has found that general thoracic surgeons, especially those at academic health centers, perform the vast majority of complex noncardiac operations, including surgeries of the esophagus and lungs.

Mexican paradox: While opinion surveys overestimate abortions 10-fold, abortion mortality clearly decreases
There seems to be a paradox between estimated abortion figures and the significant decrease in abortion deaths in Mexico.

Experts show that diets lower in fat lead to reductions in weight and BMI
The ideal proportion of total fat in the human diet is unclear.

A relationship between cancer genes and the reprogramming gene SOX2 discovered
Two studies discover the relationship between two cancer genes, CDKN1B(p27) and MEF, and the reprogramming gene SOX2.

Rapid eye movements significantly delayed in people with glaucoma
Rapid eye movements are significantly delayed in patients with glaucoma, even those in the early stages of the disease, research has found.

Drought in the Horn of Africa delays migrating birds
The catastrophic drought last year in the Horn of Africa affected millions of people but also caused the extremely late arrival into northern Europe of several migratory songbird species, a study from University of Copenhagen published in Science now shows.

Researchers craft tool to minimize threat of endocrine disruptors in new chemicals
Researchers from North Carolina State University, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and a host of other institutions have developed a safety testing system to help chemists design inherently safer chemicals and processes.

Speech-language researcher awarded top honors
Dr. Christine Dollaghan, a professor at UT Dallas' Callier Center for Communication Disorders, received the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association's top award during this fall's national convention.

Overestimation of abortion deaths in Mexico hinders maternal mortality reduction efforts
Overestimation of abortion mortality in Mexico obscures the progress in maternal health observed in this country over the last decades.

Unlocking the genetic mysteries behind stillbirth
A new test for analyzing the chromosomes of stillborn babies, known as microarray analysis, has now proven 40 percent more effective in pinpointing potential genetic causes of death than the old karyotype testing procedure.

Insight into DNA reprogramming during egg and sperm cell development
Scientists at the Babraham Institute have gained a new understanding of when and how the DNA in developing egg and sperm cells is 'reset', in preparation for making a new embryo.

Flexible silicon solar-cell fabrics may soon become possible
For the first time, a silicon-based optical fiber with solar-cell capabilities has been developed that is capable of being scaled up to many meters in length.

New research investigates how the common 'cat parasite' gets into the brain
A new study demonstrates for the first time how the Toxoplasma gondii parasite enters the brain to influence its host's behavior.

What happens to plant growth when you remove gravity?
It is well known that plant growth patterns are influenced by a variety of stimuli, gravity being one amongst many.

MSU uses grant to help students master scientific mumbo jumbo
Warning: This class will teach students to translate scientific mumbo jumbo into understandable phrases.

Warm sea water is melting Antarctic glaciers
The ice sheet in West Antarctica is melting faster than expected.

Prenatal tests more informative using microarray technology, find GW researchers
A new method for detecting abnormalities in unborn children is providing physicians with more information to analyze the results than conventional, microscopic testing, according to two George Washington University researchers.

Deception can be perfected
With a little practice, one could learn to tell a lie that may be indistinguishable from the truth.

Drag-and-drop DNA
Using a simple

Vaginal microbicide gel may offer a promising strategy for prevention and protection against HIV transmission
A new study shows that a microbicide gel is highly effective in block infection by the AIDS virus in a non-human primate model.

ACNP: Novel NMDA receptor modulator significantly reduces depression scores within hours
Naurex reports Phase 2 data at ACNP showing a single administration of novel NMDA receptor modulator GLYX-13 produced statistically significant reductions in depression scores within 24 hours in subjects who had failed prior treatment.

December 2012 Story Tips
Residential and commercial buildings of tomorrow could use less energy.

Valuable tool for predicting pain genes in people
Scientists in Australia and Austria have described a

New genetic disorder of balance and cognition discovered
The family of disorders known as ataxia can impair speech, balance and coordination, and have varying levels of severity.

Looking into a fly's eyes
Ultra-microscopes developed at the Vienna University of Technology can look into biological tissue, creating high-resolution 3-D images.

Notre Dame research reveals migrating Great Lakes salmon carry contaminants upstream
Research by Gary Lamberti, a Notre Dame professor and chair of biology, and his laboratory has revealed that salmon, as they travel upstream to spawn and die, carry industrial pollutants into Great Lakes streams and tributaries.

Image of the Carina Nebula marks inauguration of VLT Survey Telescope
A spectacular new image of the star-forming Carina Nebula has been captured by the VLT Survey Telescope at ESO's Paranal Observatory and released on the occasion of the inauguration of the telescope in Naples today.

Lenalidomide offers an effective alternative treatment for cutaneus lupus erythematosus
Although rare there are several treatments available for cutaneus lupus erythematosus.

World's smallest reaction chamber
The world's smallest reaction chamber, with a mixing volume measured in femtolitres (million billionths of a litre), can be used to study the kind of speedy, nanoscale biochemical reactions that take place inside individual cells.

Cognitive behavioral therapy can reduce depression in those haven't responded to antidepressants
Antidepressants are the most widely used treatment for people with moderate to severe depression.

Pulverized rocks used to strip CO2 from large emitting plants
Researchers in Quebec, Canada are developing a process that would see steel, coal and cement plants as well as oil and gas facilities remove most of the carbon dioxide from their emissions through chemical reactions with various types of crushed rocks in the stacks.

At high altitude, carbs are the fuel of choice
Mice living in the high-altitude, oxygen-starved environment of the Andean mountains survive those harsh conditions by fueling their muscles with carbohydrates.

Tiny structure gives big boost to solar power
Princeton researchers have found a simple and economic way to nearly triple the efficiency of organic solar cells, the cheap and flexible plastic devices that many scientists believe could be the future of solar power.

Researchers find new genetic pathway behind neurodevelopmental disorders
Researchers at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute have discovered a new genetic process that could one day provide a novel target for the treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders, such as intellectual disability and autism.

Autistic adults report significant shortcomings in their health care
Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University have found that adults with autism, who represent about 1 percent of the adult population in the United States, report significantly worse health care experiences than their non-autistic counterparts.

UC Davis study shows that treadmill testing can predict heart disease in women
Although there is a widespread belief among physicians that the exercise treadmill test is not reliable in evaluating the heart health of women, UC Davis researchers have found that the test can accurately predict coronary artery disease in women over the age of 65.

Complementary and alternative medicine studied in Swedish surgical care
Osteopathy may help reduce chronic pain and stiffness after thoracic surgery.

University of East Anglia research proves low fat diet is key to a slimmer figure
Findings published today in the British Medical Journal show that exchanging fatty foods for lower fat alternatives will help people shift around three-and-a-half pounds -- without dieting.

New study sheds light on how Salmonella spreads in the body
Findings of Cambridge scientists, published today in the journal PLoS Pathogens, show a new mechanism used by bacteria to spread in the body with the potential to identify targets to prevent the dissemination of the infection process.

Ethiopians and Tibetans thrive in thin air using similar physiology, but different genes
Scientists have pinpointed genetic changes that allow some Ethiopians to live more than a mile above sea level without getting altitude sickness.

Nobody's perfect
For the first time, researchers have measured how many damaging genetic variants each of us has and on average, we carry around 400 potentially damaging variants and two variants known to be associated with a disease.

Research on blood vessel proteins holds promise for controlling 'blood-brain barrier'
Working with mice, Johns Hopkins researchers have shed light on the activity of a protein pair found in cells that form the walls of blood vessels in the brain and retina, experiments that could lead to therapeutic control of the blood-brain barrier and of blood vessel growth in the eye.

Research takes next generation augmented reality apps 'anywhere'
Augmented reality applications for mobile devices could become smarter and more sophisticated, thanks to two recent grants awarded to University of California, Santa Barbara computer science professors Matthew Turk and Tobias Höllerer.

Keeping ship hulls free of marine organisms
Special underwater coatings prevent shells and other organisms from growing on the hull of ships -- but biocide paints are ecologically harmful.

Science and engineering students petition Congress to stop sequestration
More than 6,000 science and engineering students have hand-delivered a petition to all US senators and House leaders, urging them to stop sequestration.

TGen-US Oncology data guides treatment of metastatic triple-negative breast cancer patients
Genomic sequencing has revealed therapeutic drug targets for difficult-to-treat, metastatic triple-negative breast cancer, according to an unprecedented study by the Translational Genomic Research Institute and US Oncology Research.

UC Riverside entomologist named Distinguished Scientist of the Year
Entomologist Marshall Johnson, an extension specialist and researcher at the University of California, Riverside, has received the Distinguished Scientist of the Year Award from the International Organization for Biological Control -- Nearctic Regional Section.

Discovery of pathway leading to depression reveals new drug targets
Scientists have identified the key molecular pathway leading to depression, revealing potential new targets for drug discovery, according to research led by King's College London's Institute of Psychiatry.

Researchers investigate impacts of climate change on rare tropical plants
Research led by the University of York has found that the impacts of climate change on rare plants in tropical mountains will vary considerably from site to site and from species to species.

Gladstone scientists discover novel mechanism by which calorie restriction influences longevity
Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes have identified a novel mechanism by which a type of low-carb, low-calorie diet--called a

Kessler Foundation wins National MS Society grant to study prevention of cognitive decline
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society awarded Victoria Leavitt, Ph.D., a $44,000 grant to study the effects of intellectual enrichment on cognitive decline in individual with multiple sclerosis.

Climate -- the hot topic in Doha
ESA joined international delegates in Doha, Qatar, to discuss how satellite observations show our planet's most sensitive areas reacting to climate change - and how this information is useful to the people living there.

Hubble sees a galaxy hit a bullseye
Bright pink nebulae almost completely encircle a spiral galaxy in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image of NGC 922.

Scientists identify molecules in the ear that convert sound into brain signals
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA, have identified a critical component of the ear-to-brain conversion--a protein called TMHS.

Environmental chemical blocks cell function
Bisphenol A, a substance found in many synthetic products, is considered to be harmful, particularly, for fetuses and babies.

Biochemists trap a chaperone machine in action
Molecular chaperones have emerged as exciting new potential drug targets, because scientists want to learn how to stop cancer cells, for example, from using chaperones to enable their uncontrolled growth.

Protein controlling glucose metabolism also a tumor suppressor
A protein that regulates how cells process glucose also may be a tumor suppressor, adding to the potential that therapies directed at cellular metabolism may help suppress tumor growth.

Combining two genome analysis approaches supports immune system contribution to autism
Researchers using novel approaches and methodologies of identifying genes that contribute to the development of autism have found evidence that disturbances in several immune-system-related pathways contribute to development of autism spectrum disorders.

USC scientists turn a harmful greenhouse gas into a tool for making pharmaceuticals
A team of chemists at USC has developed a way to transform a hitherto useless ozone-destroying greenhouse gas that is the byproduct of Teflon manufacture and transform it into reagents for producing pharmaceuticals.

SCALES goes global in addressing critical issues in nature conservation
Conservation is concerned with the preservation of biological diversity at all levels, from genes to species, communities and ecosystems.

Tamoxifen trial should prompt breast cancer patients to reconsider treatment options
A groundbreaking clinical trial involving the breast cancer drug tamoxifen should prompt certain breast cancer patients to reconsider their treatment options.

NASA compiles Typhoon Bopha's Philippines Rainfall totals from space
NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission, or TRMM satellite can estimate rainfall rates from its orbit in space, and its data is also used to compile estimated rainfall totals.

Research yields understanding of Darwin's 'abominable mystery'
Research by Indiana University paleobotanist David L. Dilcher and colleagues in Europe sheds new light on what Charles Darwin famously called

Women with higher carotenoid levels have reduced risk of breast cancer
Women with higher circulating carotenoid levels are at a reduced risk of breast cancer according to a study published Dec.

New oral drug candidate for African sleeping sickness
A new oral-only treatment for sleeping sickness has entered Phase II/III clinical study in patients with late-stage sleeping sickness in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and soon in Central African Republic.

Different genes behind same adaptation to thin air
Highlanders in Tibet and Ethiopia share a biological adaptation that enables them to thrive in the low oxygen of high altitudes, but the ability to pass on the trait appears to be linked to different genes in the two groups, research from a Case Western Reserve University scientist and colleagues shows.

CBT proves effective at reducing depression in people who have not responded to antidepressants
For the first time in a large-scale randomized trial, scientists have demonstrated that people with depression who have not responded to treatment with antidepressants are three times more likely to get better if they receive cognitive behavioral therapy in addition to antidepressants and usual care.
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