Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 11, 2012
Happtique and Kessler Foundation lead new working group of application developers alliance
The Application Developers Alliance has launched a working group on health and medical apps.

Keck School of Medicine of USC researchers find clue to how Hepatitis C virus harms liver
Researchers at the University of Southern California have discovered a trigger by which the Hepatitis C virus enters liver cells -- shedding light on how this serious and potentially deadly virus can begin to damage the liver.

Dead or alive? A new test to determine viability of soybean rust spores
Spores from Asian soybean rust pose a serious threat to soybean production in the United States because they can be blown great distances by the wind.

No need to prepare
For the first time, researchers have developed a method to directly sequence DNA without the need for the laborius and time consuming, standard pre-sequencing sample preparation.

New coronavirus has many potential hosts, could pass from animals to humans repeatedly
The SARS epidemic of 2002-2003 was short-lived, but a novel type of human coronavirus that is alarming public health authorities can infect cells from humans and bats alike, a fact that could make the animals a continuing source of infection, according to a study to be published in in mBio®.

Eating or spending too much? Blame it on Facebook
Participating in online social networks can have a detrimental effect on consumer well-being by lowering self-control among certain users, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Mussel goo inspires blood vessel glue
A University of British Columbia researcher has helped create a gel -- based on the mussel's knack for clinging to rocks, piers and boat hulls -- that can be painted onto the walls of blood vessels and stay put, forming a protective barrier with potentially life-saving implications.

New research helps predict susceptibility to Burkitt lymphoma
New research, presented this morning at the 54th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology, has identified important associations between Plasmodium falciparum malaria and endemic Burkitt Lymphoma (eBL) that may help researchers identify young children who are more susceptible to eBL.

Moffitt researchers say effective immunotherapy for melanoma hinges on blocking suppressive factors
Researchers at the Moffitt Cancer Center have found that delayed tumor growth and enhanced survival of mice bearing melanoma were possible by blocking the reconstitution of myeloid-derived suppressor cells and Tregs (suppressors of anti-tumor activity) after total body irradiation had eliminated them.

DNDi is awarded USD 17.3 million from UNITAID to spur development and delivery of child-adapted ARVs
The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative welcomes the announcement by UNITAID to grant up to USD 17.3 million to the organization for its pediatric HIV program.

Tiotropium has advantages for patients with COPD
The inhalation of tiotropium bromide aims to widen the narrowed airways in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Manipulative therapies may be a beneficial treatment for infantile colic
A Cochrane review of studies into manipulative therapies for colic, by the University of Southampton, suggests that the treatment technique may be of some benefit.

Dr. Zohar Komargodski of the Weizmann Institute awarded a New Horizons in Physics Prize
Dr. Komargodski is one of three promising young theoretical physicists to be awarded the Prize.

Concussions affect children's brains even after symptoms subside
Brain changes in children who have sustained a mild traumatic brain injury, or concussion, persist for months following injury -- even after the symptoms of the injury are gone, according to a study published in the Dec.

Anti-aging gene identified as tumor suppressor in mice, research finds
A new study sheds more light on how an anti-aging gene suppresses cancer growth, joint University of Michigan Health System and Harvard Medical School research shows.

Daycare double duty
Nearly 1.5 million Canadian children grow up living double lives: one at home with their parents and another in some form of childcare environment.

Salmonella spreads by targeting cells in our gut, study shows
Scientists have gained fresh insights into how the salmonella bug makes us ill.

New anticoagulant discovered based on the same used by malaria vectors to feed on
An international project has, for the first time ever, deciphered the mechanism by which a substance called anophelin binds to an enzyme (thrombin) involved in the process of blood coagulation.

Fear of falling may cause social isolation in older adults with vision problems
A new study published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science found that between 40 to 50 percent of older adults with visually impairing eye disease limit their activities due to a fear of falling.

Does the brain become unglued in autism?
A new study published in Biological Psychiatry suggests that autism is associated with reductions in the level of cellular adhesion molecules in the blood, where they play a role in immune function.

A mobile app helps children with special needs improve language and social skills
A study demonstrates that this application -- which is also available in English, Galician and Arab -- enhances perception, vocabulary acquisition, phonetic and syntactic performance, memory development and eye-hand coordination in children with Down syndrome and autism-related disorders.

Could ending your fatty food habit cause withdrawal symptoms and depression?
Even before obesity occurs, eating fatty and sugary foods causes chemical changes in the brain, meaning that going on a diet might feel similar to going through drug withdrawal.

Stanford University is new home to archives of Road & Track magazine
An interdisciplinary team of Stanford researchers and librarians exploring the place of the automobile in modern society has inherited the entire 65-year archives from Road & Track magazine, becoming stewards of the legendary auto enthusiast magazine's legacy and a trove of detailed prose, notes, test data and photos for future research.

UAlberta medical researchers make key discovery in fight against Alzheimer's disease
Medical researchers at the University of Alberta have discovered a drug intended for diabetes appears to restore memory in Alzheimer's brain cells.

NYU-Poly professor named a fellow of the ACM
Keith Ross, head of NYU-Poly's Computer Science and Engineering Department, has been chosen as a fellow of the ACM.

Scary news for corals -- from the Ice Age
There is growing scientific concern that corals could retreat from equatorial seas and oceans as the Earth continues to warm, a team of international marine researchers warned today.

NASA's EUNIS mission: 6 minutes in the life of the sun
In December, a NASA mission to study the sun will make its third launch into space for a six-minute flight to gather information about the way material roils through the sun's atmosphere, sometimes causing eruptions and ejections that travel as far as Earth.

Elsevier's Reproductive Health Matters publishes 'Pregnancy decisions of women living with HIV'
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, announced today publication of Reproductive Health Matters' 2012 supplement issue

Drug resistant leukemia stem cells may be source of genetic chaos, Temple scientists find
Temple University School of Medicine researchers have found that a source of genomic instability in chronic myeloid leukemia may lie in a pool of leukemia stem cells that are immune to some anticancer drugs.

Prevalence of visual impairment in US increases
The prevalence of nonrefractive visual impairment (not due to need for glasses) in the US has increased significantly in recent years, which may be partly related to a higher prevalence of diabetes, an associated risk factor.

Taxes on sugary drinks and high fat foods could improve health
Taxes on soft drinks and foods high in saturated fats and subsidies for fruit and vegetables could lead to beneficial dietary changes and potentially improve health, according to a study by experts from New Zealand published in this week's PLOS Medicine.

Even moderate smoking associated with sudden death risk in women
Women who are even light-to-moderate cigarette smokers may be significantly more likely than nonsmokers to suffer sudden cardiac death, according to new research in Circulation: Arrhythmia & Electrophysiology, an American Heart Association journal.

Long-term public health support needed to tackle infectious disease outbreaks
Outbreaks of infectious diseases, such as swine flu (H1N1) threaten global health and should be considered by funding agencies and humanitarian organizations as development issues rather than emergency situations, requiring long-term support and investment, according to US experts writing in this week's PLOS Medicine.

Why do so many women leave biology?
The retention rate of women in the biological sciences, both in the United States and Canada, is lower than would be expected from the number of female doctoral students who graduated within the last decade, and lower than it is in medicine.

Children born prematurely are at higher risk of esophageal inflammation, cancer
Infants that are born preterm or with impaired growth have an increased risk of developing gastroesophageal reflux disease, possibly leaving them vulnerable to the development of esophageal adenocarcinoma later in life.

TAMEST announces recipients of the 2013 Edith and Peter O'Donnell Awards
The Academy of Medicine, Engineering, and Science of Texas honored four young scientists with its 2013 O'Donnell Awards.

My, what big teeth you have! Threatening objects appear closer
When we're faced with things that seem threatening, whether it's a hairy spider or an angry mob, our goal is usually to get as far away as we can.

Psychological therapies improve life for children with post-traumatic stress disorder
Children suffering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of traumatic events, including child abuse, may benefit from psychological therapies, according to a review published in The Cochrane Library.

Study finds epigenetics, not genetics, underlies homosexuality
Epigenetics -- how gene expression is regulated by temporary switches, called epi-marks -- appears to be a critical and overlooked factor contributing to the long-standing puzzle of why homosexuality occurs.

Helmsley Charitable Trust Fund donates $6 million to Ben-Gurion University of Negev Robotics Center
Fully autonomous robots, capable of performing new tasks in complex and unknown environments and interacting with people, do not yet exist.

Best of both worlds: Hybrid approach sheds light on crystal structure solution
Understanding the arrangement of atoms in a solid is vital to materials research -- but the problem can be difficult to solve in many important situations.

Who are you calling old? How elderly consumers negotiate their identities
Caregivers view elderly consumers as

Foreign multidrug resistant bacteria contained in Toronto hospital
A hospital in Canada detected the presence of New Delhi Metallo-ß-lactamase-1-Producing Klebsiella pneumoniae (NDM1-Kp), a multidrug resistant bacteria that is resistant to carbapenems, one of the last lines of antibiotics.

Kinsey research: Postpartum women less stressed by threats unrelated to the baby
Following the birth of a child, new mothers may have an altered perception of stresses around them, showing less interest in threats unrelated to the baby.

RI Hospital: Borderline personality, bipolar disorders have similar unemployment rates
Unemployment poses a significant burden on the public no matter what the cause.

What causes hot flushes during menopause?
A UA research team has identified a region in the brain that may trigger the uncomfortable surges of heat most women experience in the first few years of menopause.

Researchers identify new components of the epigenetic 'code' for honey bee development
Researchers from the UK and Australia have uncovered a new element of the honeybee's genetic makeup, which may help to explain why bees are so sensitive to environmental changes.

New system for aircraft forecasts potential storm hazards over oceans
NCAR has developed a prototype system to help flights avoid major storms as they travel over remote ocean regions.

Value or attention: Why do consumers prefer familiar products?
Consumers are more likely to purchase a product if they have previously focused their attention on it but are less likely to purchase a product they have previously ignored, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Does changing the price of medicine influence consumers' perceived health risk?
Consumers assume their risk of getting a serious illness is higher when medications are cheaper because they believe that prices for life-saving products are based on need and not profit, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Was the sauropod dinosaurs' large size due to plant food? Scientists argue old idea still has legs
The long necked sauropod dinosaurs were the largest land animals ever to walk the Earth -- but why were they so large?

New tuberculosis drug trial begins in South Africa
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and AstraZeneca, a global biopharmaceutical company, today announced the first patient enrolled in a Phase 2a trial to assess the effectiveness of AZD5847, a new test drug for patients with tuberculosis, including patients with HIV co-infection.

Researchers find algal ancestor is key to how deadly pathogens proliferate
Long ago, when life on our planet was in its infancy, a group of small single-celled algae floating in the vast prehistoric ocean swam freely by beating whip-like tails, called flagella.

2 UT Southwestern scientists honored as rising stars in Texas research
The Academy of Medicine, Engineering, and Science of Texas today announced that two UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers are among the four chosen for the 2013 Edith and Peter O'Donnell Awards.

Weekly dose reduces targeted drug's side effects, but not its activity against ALL
A potent chemotherapy agent wrapped within a monoclonal antibody selectively destroys the malignant cells responsible for acute lymphocytic leukemia in either weekly or monthly dosing, researchers report at the 54th ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition.

EARTH: The bright future for natural gas in the United States
Hydraulic fracturing, or

Kentucky team inhibits Alzheimer's biomarkers in animal model by targeting astrocytes
A research team composed of University of Kentucky researchers has published a paper which provides the first direct evidence that activated astrocytes could play a harmful role in Alzheimer's disease.

NIH scientists reflect on gains in emerging infectious disease awareness, research and response
In a new essay, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony S.

Rice cultivates green batteries from plant
The madder plant, used since ancient times to create dye for fabrics, is a good source of purpurin, an organic dye that can be turned into a highly effective, natural cathode for lithium-ion batteries.

Grains gang up to bear brunt of missile and meteorite impacts
High-speed video of projectiles slamming into a bed of disks has given scientists a new microscopic picture of the way a meteorite or missile transfers the energy of its impact to sand and dirt grains.

Extreme macrocephaly treated by shunting & cranial reduction/fixation in 1st week of life
Neurosurgeons achieved excellent physical and aesthetic results in an infant born with extreme macrocephaly due to hydrocephalus.

Brain angioplasty and stents found safe and effective for stroke patients
Some stroke patients may benefit from cerebral angioplasty and stent placement, according to a new study.

Contact precautions shown to modify healthcare workers care delivery
A new report published in the January issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, found when patients with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and other antibiotic-resistant bacteria are isolated in the hospital, these contact precautions reduced the number of visits by healthcare workers and outside visitors, but also increased compliance with hand hygiene upon exit of patients' rooms.

Device helps children with disabilities access tablets
Researchers at Georgia Tech are trying to open the world of tablets to children whose limited mobility makes it difficult for them to perform the common pinch and swipe gestures required to control the devices.

Employers maintain training budgets despite recession, research shows
British employers have avoided slashing their budgets for training during the recession because they believe it is vital to their operations, a new study has found.

Need to move soon? Don't trust your emotions
Consumers are more likely to make emotional instead of objective assessments when the outcomes are closer to the present time than when they are further away in the future, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Primary care physicians play vital role in caring for diabetes patients
New research from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) has brought to light the importance of the role of a primary care physician in a population of diabetes patients.

Words have feelings
Does the emotion in our voice have a lasting effect?

Coral researcher recognized with prestigious award
Research into a process that is threatening to wipe out coral reefs, by a scientist at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, has been recognized with a prestigious award worth 1.29 million euros.

How do stay-at-home dads seek greater social acceptance?
In order to avoid the stigma and loss of status posed by their lifestyle choice, stay-at-home fathers are mobilizing to build greater legitimacy for their marginalized gender identity, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

UTSA anthropologist honored for contributions researching primates in Africa
Joanna Lambert, professor in the UTSA Department of Anthropology, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for the outstanding contributions she has made to the field of primate feeding biology at evolutionary and ecological scales.

Just a spoonful: Sweet taste comforts babies during injections
The sweet taste of sugar may provide some comfort for babies during immunizations, according to a new Cochrane systematic review.

How our sense of touch is a lot like the way we hear
Researchers at the University of Chicago find that the timing and frequency of vibrations produced in the skin when exploring surfaces play an important role in how humans use the sense of touch to gather information, drawing a powerful analogy to the auditory system.

Discovery of tiny fossil new to science
A rare find from 425 million years ago has its body, limbs, eyes, gills and alimentary system preserved.

AZTI-Tecnalia creates a new low-salt cheese containing omega-3 and omega-6 acids
A low-salt cheese in which the animal fat has been substituted by cholesterol-free vegetable fat with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is the result of the research carried out by the New Foodstuffs Area of AZTI-Tecnalia.

Capturing circulating cancer cells could provide insights into how disease spreads
A glass plate with a nanoscale roughness could be a simple way for scientists to capture and study the circulating tumor cells that carry cancer around the body through the bloodstream.

New knowledge about the remarkable properties of black holes
Black holes are surrounded by many mysteries, but now researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute, among others, have come up with new groundbreaking theories that can explain several of their properties.

Social ties help drive user content generation that leads to online ad revenue growth
Study reveals that networking sites can drive advertising revenue by encouraging the density of social ties, or boosting the level of friendship or social connections between users.

An older Vega: New insights about the star all others are measured by
Vega, a star astronomers have used as a touchstone to measure other stars' brightness for thousands of years, may be more than 200 million years older than previously thought.

Bedroom TV viewing increases risk of obesity in children
The average American child from age 8 to 18 watches about 4.5 hours of TV each day.

Combination therapy may help decrease sleep apnea symptoms at higher altitudes
For individuals with obstructive sleep apnea traveling to higher altitudes (which may exacerbate symptoms), use of a combination therapy resulted in improvement in symptoms including reduced insomnia and better control of sleep apnea.

Ancient red dye powers new 'green' battery
Rose madder -- a natural plant dye once prized throughout the Old World to make fiery red textiles -- has found a second life as the basis for a new

Combination of imaging exams improves Alzheimer's diagnosis
A combination of diagnostic tests, including imaging and cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers can improve prediction of conversion from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study.

Elsevier awards 2012 grants to champion libraries in developing countries and women in science
The Elsevier Foundation announced today the 2012 grant recipients for the Innovative Libraries in Developing Countries and New Scholars award programs.

Reports assess global student achievement in math, science and reading literacy
Students from East Asian countries, in addition to a select group of European countries, outperformed students around the world in mathematics, science and reading at both the fourth and eighth grades, according to the latest assessments directed by the TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center at Boston College.

NIH-funded trial launched to assess experimental TB drug
A clinical trial will examine an investigational drug's early bacteria-killing activity in patients newly diagnosed with drug-sensitive pulmonary tuberculosis.

Battling brittle bones... with broccoli and spinach?
A new study from engineering researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute shows, for the first time, how the little-understood protein osteocalcin plays a significant role in the strength of our bones.

Resurrection of extinct enzymes reveals evolutionary strategy for the invention of new functions
How does evolution innovate? We exist because our ancestors have had the ability to adapt successfully to changes in their environment; However, merely examining present-day organisms can limit our understanding of the actual evolutionary processes because the crucial events have been masked by the passage of aeons -- what we need is a time machine.

Combining diagnostic tests more accurate at predicting Alzheimer's
Employing a combination of imaging and biomarker tests improves the ability of doctors to predict Alzheimer's in patients with mild cognitive impairment, according to researchers at Duke Medicine.

Potential gene therapy approach to sickle cell disease highlighted at American Society of Hematology
Researchers at Dana-Farber/Children's Hospital Cancer Center have taken the first preliminary steps toward developing a form of gene therapy for sickle cell disease.

An elusive effect measured during the last Venus transit
A team of Italian astronomers performed a very difficult measurement for which it was necessary to use the most advanced instrumentation in combination with an unusual technique, so as to involve even the moon as a natural astronomical mirror.

UT study: Students who are more physically fit perform better academically
Middle school students who are more physically fit make better grades and outperform their classmates on standardized tests, according to a newly published study from a professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Research team recognizes predator-producing bacteria
Researchers from the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have found that a bacteriophage unique to the Enterococcus faecalis strain V583 acts as a predator, infecting and harming similar, competing bacteria.

NREL teams to analyze solar pricing trends and benchmark 'soft' costs for PV systems
The US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory jointly released two reports examining solar photovoltaic pricing in the US.

TACC develops visualization software for humanities researchers
The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at The University of Texas at Austin has released MostPixelsEver: Cluster Edition, an open source software tool that allows researchers, especially those in the humanities, to create interactive, multimedia visualizations on high resolution, tiled displays like TACC's Stallion, one of the highest resolution tiled displays in the world at 328 million pixels.

Journal Maturitas publishes position statement on diet and health in midlife and beyond
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, announced today the publication of a position statement by the European Menopause and Andropause Society in journal Maturitas.

Fish have enormous nutrient impacts on marine ecosystems, study finds
Fish play a far more important role as contributors of nutrients to marine ecosystems than previously thought, according to researchers at the University of Georgia and Florida International University.

Young Investigator Award winners announced by Anatomy Society
The American Association of Anatomist's Young Investigator Awards combine three long-standing AAA awards -- Bensley, Herrick, and Mossman -- with the Morphological Sciences Award, all recognizing investigators in the early stages of their careers who have made important contributions to biomedical science through their research in cell/molecular biology, developmental biology, comparative neuroanatomy, or the morphological sciences.

New method quantifies uncertainty in estimates of child mortality rates
Measures of uncertainty should be taken into account when estimating progress towards Millennium Development Goal 4 (to reduce the mortality rate of children under 5 years by two thirds from the 1990 level by 2015) in order to give more accurate assessments of countries' progress, according to a study published in this week's PLOS Medicine.

Alternative to fullerenes in organic solar cells -- just as exciting
An insight into the properties of fullerene is set to open the door to a new class of electronic acceptors which can be used to build better and cheaper organic solar cells.

Industry sponsorship leads to bias in reported findings of clinical trials
Studies reporting the results of industry sponsored clinical trials present a more favorable picture of the effects of drugs and medical devices than those reporting on non-industry sponsored trials, according to a new Cochrane systematic review.

Holiday shopping madness: When do consumers seek to punish fellow shoppers for behaving badly?
Consumers seek to punish fellow consumers who violate social norms while shopping but also make exceptions depending on the situation, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research. 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