Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 12, 2012
3 new research units, 1 new clinical research unit
The German Research Foundation will fund three new research units and one new clinical research unit.

More ice loss through snowfall on Antarctica
Stronger snowfall increases future ice discharge from Antarctica. Global warming leads to more precipitation as warmer air holds more moisture -- hence earlier research suggested the Antarctic ice sheet might grow under climate change.

Study reveals new factor that could limit the life of hybrid and electric car batteries
A new study of the batteries commonly used in hybrid and electric-only cars has revealed an unexpected factor that could limit the performance of batteries currently on the road.

A promising clinical trial to reduce the severity of autistic disorders
Yehezkel Ben-Ari, Honorary Director at INSERM, and Eric Lemonnier, a clinician specialising in autism at the CHRU of Brest, recently published the results of a double-blind clinical trial to evaluate the usefulness of a diuretic in the treatment of autism.

Pan-European organizations call for an advanced understanding of the human brain
A new strategic report, The Human Brain -- From Cells to Society, Toward Better Mental Health in Europe, has been published today by the European Science Foundation.

Notre Dame researchers examining electric vehicles and the power grid
As plug-in electric vehicles become an ever more central part of America's daily life, University of Notre Dame researchers are anticipating what that development will mean for the nation's power grid.

Got food allergies? Thanks to UCLA, you can test your meal on the spot using a cell phone
A team of researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science has developed a lightweight device called the iTube, which attaches to a common cell phone to detect allergens in food samples.

Tumble over the 'patent cliff' fosters innovation in developing new medicines
All eyes may be on Washington this month as the White House and Congress confront the fiscal cliff, but the industry that produces life-saving medications has recently gone over its own counterpart -- the patent cliff.

Tsunami caused long-term ecosystem change in the Caribbean
A detailed analysis of sediments from the island of Bonaire in the Caribbean presents convincing evidence for an extraordinary wave impact dating back some 3,300 years.

Advance in chromosomal evolution in sea cradles
A chromosomal study performed in a common Mediterranean chiton (sea cradle) provides information, relevant to systematic relationships of the species; furthermore the comparison of its karyotype with ones in literature allows the authors to put forward a hypothesis on chromosome evolution of this group of mollusks.

Will climate change cause water conflict?
Climate change plays a secondary role in the origin or aggravation of social conflicts linked to water.

Protein strongest just before death
Researchers at Michigan State University have discovered a protein that does its best work with one foot in the grave.

Pre-transplant umbilical cord blood expansion speeds establishment of new blood supply in patients
Donated umbilical cord blood establishes a new blood supply in patients more quickly after transplantation when it is first expanded in the lab on a bed of cells that mimics conditions in the bone marrow, researchers report in the Dec.

Automated design for drug discovery
A system of

Relocating elephants fails to decrease human-wildlife conflict
Human-elephant conflict in Sri Lanka kills more than 70 humans and 200 Asian elephants every year.

Previously unknown mechanism identified in oncogene-induced senescence
Cell aging, or cellular senescence, has an important role in the natural physiological response to tumor development.

'Smart stethoscope' advance in monitoring treatment of kidney stones
A new listening device, developed by scientists from the University of Southampton, is being used to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment of kidney stones -- saving patients unnecessary repeat therapy and x-ray monitoring.

Hubble census finds galaxies at redshifts 9 to 12
Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have uncovered seven primitive galaxies from a distant population that formed more than 13 billion years ago.

Research will improve techniques for monitoring injection of CO2 underground
An international team of researchers is testing geo-electric techniques to monitor the injection of CO2 into underground storage sites.

Novel test identifies patients most likely to benefit from ALK inhibition therapy
Researchers have now developed and tested a promising new method for screening anaplastic lymphoma kinase fusions in non-small cell lung carcinoma.

Tool could help uncover bias against female faculty in STEM fields
A Northwestern University study of professors in STEM fields at top research universities across the country found that the

Vaccination reduces the risk of unvaccinated badger cubs testing tuberculosis positive
New evidence from a four-year field study has shown that BCG vaccination reduces the risk of tuberculosis infection in unvaccinated badger cubs in vaccinated groups, as well as in badgers that received the vaccine.

Sandia helps DOE bring large-scale solar systems to market
Sandia National Laboratories is advancing viable, low-carbon power through collaborating on five U.S.

UCLA scientists find drug that may help fight Duchenne muscular dystrophy
Drugs are currently being tested that show promise in treating patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, an inherited disease that affects about one in 3,600 boys.

Delaying childbirth may reduce risk of an aggressive form of breast cancer
Younger women who wait at least 15 years after their first menstrual period to give birth to their first child may reduce their risk of an aggressive form of breast cancer by up to 60 percent, according to a Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center study.

Climate modelers see possible warmer, wetter Northeast winters by 2070
A new high-resolution climate study by University of Massachusetts Amherst climate scientists, the first to apply regional climate models to examine likely near-term changes in temperature and precipitation across the Northeast United States, suggests temperatures are going to be significantly warmer in all seasons in the next 30 years, especially in winter.

Study paves way to design drugs aimed at multiple protein targets at once
Pharmaceutical chemists had suggested that the objective of a drug hitting multiple targets simultaneously is impossible and unlikely to succeed.

Solar power prices to continue falling through 2025, experts say
Prices for photovoltaic modules -- the part of solar panels that turn sunlight into electricity -- are expected to continue falling, in line with the long-term trend that has persisted since 1980, according to Near Zero's survey of experts.

Experimental agent briefly eases depression rapidly in test
A drug that works through the same brain mechanism as the fast-acting antidepressant ketamine briefly improved treatment-resistant patients' depression symptoms in minutes, with minimal untoward side effects, in a clinical trial.

UGA researchers find algal ancestor is key to how deadly pathogens proliferate
Long ago, when life on Earth was in its infancy, a group of small single-celled algae propelled themselves through the vast prehistoric ocean by beating whip like tails called flagella.

Ceramic indoor cookstove use did not significantly lower child pneumonia risk in rural Kenya
Inexpensive, locally produced ceramic cookstoves may produce less smoke than traditional indoor three-stone firepits, but they don't significantly reduce indoor air pollution or the risk of pneumonia in young children, according to results from a small, year-long observational study by researchers working in rural Kenya.

Prickly holly reveals ability to adapt genetics to environmental change
Prickly holly leaves are a traditional Christmas decoration, from wreaths adorning homes, to greeting card scenes.

Unhealthy behaviors could slow progress in reducing heart disease, stroke
Poor eating and exercise habits could be the game-changer in the fight against heart disease and stroke deaths, according to the American Heart Association's

Physics on a plane: Crystals grown under 0 gravity
A group of physicists from Japan have taken to the skies to grow crystals under zero gravity.

Fragile X protein linked to nearly 100 genes involved in autism
Doctors have known for many years that patients with fragile X syndrome, the most common form of inherited intellectual disability, are often also diagnosed with autism.

Astronomers discover 'missing link' of black holes
The discovery of a bingeing black hole that is expelling powerful beams of material has shed new light on some of the brightest X-ray sources seen in other galaxies, according to new research led by Durham University.

Nature nurtures creativity
Backpackers scored 50 percent better on a creativity test after spending four days in nature disconnected from electronic devices, according to a study by psychologists from the University of Utah and University of Kansas.

Almost 1 in 3 pedestrians 'distracted' by mobiles while crossing street
Almost one in three pedestrians is distracted by mobile devices while crossing busy road junctions, finds an observational study published online in Injury Prevention.

MicroRNA-218 targets medulloblastoma, most aggressive childhood brain cancer
A University of Colorado Cancer Center study published in the December issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry shows that in medulloblastoma, a malignant brain tumor of children, microRNA-218 is especially low.

Grant furthers Mercyhurst research for human pathogens in Great Lakes
Mercyhurst University biologist Steven Mauro, Ph.D., is the recipient of a $21,000 award from Pennsylvania Sea Grant to study the role temperature and phosphorus have on the survival of bacteria on algae in the Great Lakes.

People prefer leaders with more masculine voices, even in feminine leadership roles
Male and female leaders with masculine voices are preferred by both men and women.

A second ascent of chemistry's Mt. Everest
In science's equivalent of ascending Mt. Everest, researchers are reporting success in one of the most difficult challenges in synthetic chemistry -- a field in which scientists reproduce natural and other substances from jars of chemicals in a lab.

Workplace bullying ups risk of prescriptions for anxiety/depression/insomnia
Witnessing or being on the receiving end of bullying at work heightens the risk of employees being prescribed antidepressants, sleeping pills, and tranquillisers, finds research published in BMJ Open.

Rice, Texas Children's team creates biocompatible patch to heal infants with birth defects
Researchers have created a new type of biodegradable scaffold to repair the hearts of infants with birth defects.

Cane toads can be stopped
It may be possible to stop the spread of can toads into new areas of Australia according to new research published today in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

Social synchronicity
Humans have a tendency to spontaneously synchronize their movements. Although this type of synchronous body movement has been observed widely, its neurological mechanism and its role in social interactions remain obscure.

Can algae-derived oils support large-scale, low-cost biofuels production?
As global supplies of fossil fuels continue to shrink, biofuels derived from algae represent one promising source of low-cost, scalable renewable energy.

Too big or just right? Optimal circle of friends depends on socioeconomic conditions
Some people like to have a few close friends, while others prefer a wider social circle that is perhaps less deep.

Ultra-short laser pulses control chemical processes
Specially shaped laser pulses can be used to change the state of electrons in a molecule.

Johns Hopkins to aid The Leapfrog Group in grading the safety and quality of US hospitals
A team of researchers at Johns Hopkins' Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality has been tapped to provide scientific guidance to The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit known for publishing report cards detailing how hospitals perform in key quality and safety measures.

Caltech-led astronomers discover galaxies near cosmic dawn
A team of astronomers led by Caltech has used NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to discover seven of the most primitive and distant galaxies ever seen.

2013 General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union
Journalists, science writers, and public information officers can now register online to the 2013 General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union.

NTU's 'sense-ational' invention helps underwater vessels navigate with ease
Nanyang Technological University scientists have invented a 'sense-ational' device, similar to a string of 'feelers' found on the bodies of the blind cave fish, which enables the fish to 'sense' their surrounding and so navigate easily.

X-ray laser takes aim at cosmic mystery
An international collaboration including researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has refined a key process in understanding extreme plasmas such as those found in the sun, stars, at the rims of black holes and galaxy clusters.

Lethal stings from the Australian box jellyfish could be treated with zinc
Box jellyfish of the Chironex species are among the most venomous animals in the world, capable of killing humans with their sting.

New geometries: Researchers create new shapes of artificial microcompartments
Researchers at Northwestern University have figured out how to mimic the different shapes of microcompartments found in nature.

Singapore scientists identify new biomarker for cancer in bone marrow
Singapore scientists have identified FAIM, a molecule that typically prevents cell death, as a potential biomarker to identify an incurable form of cancer in the bone marrow.

Targeted micro-bubbles detect artery inflammation, MU study finds
Researchers at the University of Missouri have found that targeted micro-bubbles can help detect heart disease before it progresses too far as well as identify patients who are at risk for strokes.

SU2C, Cancer Research Institute announce new immunology translational research dream team
$10 million grant over three years will fund research focusing on the immunological treatment, control and prevention of cancer.

Stress-resilience/susceptibility traced to neurons in reward circuit
A specific pattern of neuronal firing in a brain reward circuit instantly rendered mice vulnerable to depression-like behavior induced by acute severe stress.

African sanitation activist honored with OU International Water Prize
The University of Oklahoma Water Technologies for Emerging Regions Center has named development activist Ada Oko-Williams as the recipient of the 2013 University of Oklahoma International Water Prize.

Discovery in Ghent could improve screening for sudden cardiac death
Unfortunately, newspaper articles about young athletes dying suddenly on the field are not unheard of.

Air Force Office of Scientific Research announces University Nanosat competition winners
Ten universities have been selected to design and build small satellites in a competition sponsored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Space Vehicles Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory.

Violence in Mali threatening survival of endangered elephants
University of British Columbia and Oxford University researchers have revealed the secrets of survival of an endangered population of African elephant in the unforgiving Sahara desert.

New book details the biological and cultural diversity of Khawa Karpo, sacred mountain of Tibet
The Tibetan sacred mountain Khawa Karpo supports one of the world's most exceptional areas of plant and animal diversity.

Older and younger chronic leukemia patients may need different therapy
Age is usually not considered when determining treatment for people with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), but a new study indicates that older patients with CLL may require different therapy than younger patients.

Springer will collaborate with the Italian Society for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology
Springer and the Italian Society for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (SIUMB) have agreed to a five-year partnership to publish the Journal of Ultrasound, starting in 2013 with Volume 16.

Scientists train honey bees to stick out their tongues
A new video-article in Journal of Visualized Experiments illustrates a novel tactile conditioning experiment using honey bees.

ASU researchers propose new way to look at the dawn of life
One of the great mysteries of life is how it began.

Mercyhurst University study probes impact of climate change on ectotherms
A new study by biologists at Mercyhurst University focuses on the influence of climate change, particularly warmer winters, on the survival and potential fecundity of cold-blooded animals.

Researchers shed light on the workings of the body's immune response
Researchers from Queen Mary, University of London have discovered that two proteins which are believed to play a key role in controlling the body's immune response are found in lower levels in T lymphocytes from patients with multiple sclerosis .

Microquasar found in neighbor galaxy, tantalizing scientists
Scientists who discovered the first microquasar beyond our own Milky Way Galaxy are excited at the prospect of more such objects yielding valuable clues about how these mysterious powerhouses actually work.

Emerging virus in raccoons may provide cancer clues
Rare brain tumors emerging among raccoons in Northern California and Oregon may be linked to a previously unidentified virus discovered by a team of researchers, led by scientists from the University of California, Davis.

Traumatic brain injury study finds standard of care not a significant improvement
For patients with a traumatic brain injury, the default standard of care has just been turned on its head by a group of researchers at the University of Washington working with colleagues at six hospitals in Bolivia and Ecuador.

NASA'S Hubble provides first census of galaxies near cosmic dawn
Using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have uncovered a previously unseen population of seven primitive galaxies that formed more than 13 billion years ago, when the universe was less than 4 percent of its present age.

More similar than they think: Liberals and conservatives exaggerate perceived moral views
Moral stereotypes about

NASA sees newborn Tropical Storm Evan causing trouble for American Samoa
The date 12/12/12 may be numerically significant, but for the residents of American Samoa and Fiji in the South Pacific Ocean, it means a newborn tropical storm named Evan is causing problems.

Vegetable compound could become ingredient to treating leukemia
A concentrated form of a compound called sulforaphane found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables has been shown to reduce the number of acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells in the lab setting, said researchers at Baylor College of Medicine.

Notre Dame research may have important implications for combating diabetes
Research by University of Notre Dame biochemist Anthony S. Serianni is providing new insights that could have important implications for understanding and treating diabetes.

60th anniversary of NSF Grad Research Fellowship Program; UM fellow Staaterman's video recognized
University of Miami grad student and NSF graduate research fellow Erica Staaterman was recognized for her work on the video

Building better barley
By studying the carbon isotope compositions of barley plants and their relationship with water-use efficiency, researchers at the University of Alberta have developed tools that plant breeders can use to improve selection efficiency for more water-efficient varieties.

Survivors of breast cancer more likely to develop diabetes, and should be screened more closely
A major new study shows that post-menopausal survivors of breast cancer are more likely to develop diabetes than controls without breast cancer.

New report: Employer health insurance premiums increased 62 percent from 2003 to 2011
Average premiums for employer-sponsored family health insurance plans rose 62 percent between 2003 and 2011, from $9,249 to $15,022 per year, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report.

Cloud forest trees drink water through their leaves
Using water flow sensors and plastic

X-ray laser takes aim at cosmic mystery
Scientists have used powerful X-rays from the Linac Coherent Light Source free-electron laser, to study and measure, in atomic detail, a key process at work in extreme plasmas like those found in stars, the rims of black holes and other massive cosmic phenomena.

Astronomers discover 'missing link' of black holes
The discovery of a bingeing black hole in our nearest neighbouring galaxy, Andromeda, has shed new light on some of the brightest X-ray sources seen in other galaxies, according to new work co-authored by astronomers from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research's Curtin University node.

Researchers induce, relieve depression symptoms in mice with light
Researchers at Stanford University have successfully induced and relieved depression-like deficiencies in both pleasure and motivation in mice by controlling just a single area of the brain known as the ventral tegmental area.

Kessler awarded $2 million federal grant for Northern NJ Traumatic Brain Injury System
The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research awarded a $2.2 million federal grant to Kessler Foundation.

U of M to lead international virtual institute studying climatic and human effects on Earth
The National Science Foundation announced that it will award an $720,000 grant to the University of Minnesota to lead Linked Institutions for Future Earth, an international, multi-university virtual institute for the study of Earth-surface systems, with a special emphasis on watersheds and deltas.

Frog-in-bucket-of-milk folklore leads to potential new antibiotics
Following up on an ancient Russian way of keeping milk from going sour -- by putting a frog in the bucket of milk -- scientists have identified a wealth of new antibiotic substances in the skin of the Russian Brown frog.

24-armed giant to probe early lives of galaxies
A powerful instrument called KMOS has just been successfully tested on ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile.

Dead guts spill history of extinct microbes
Extinct microbes in fecal samples from archaeological sites across the world resemble those found in present-day rural African communities more than they resemble the microbes found in the gut of cosmopolitan US adults, according to research published December 12 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Cecil Lewis and colleagues from the University of Oklahoma.

Tecnalia develops new innovative concepts in contaminated soil and underground water remediation
The UPSOIL project, funded under the European 7th FP, has allowed its Consortium to bring the future to present in the soil and groundwater remediation field, introducing some new groundbreaking concepts.

Lake Erie wind farm proposal wins $4 million in federal funding
A regional team including researchers from Case Western Reserve has won $4 million to design a wind farm in Lake Erie -- along with the possibility they can compete for $46 million more to build it.

New twist on using biomass for perfume, cosmetic, personal care products
In a new approach for tapping biomass as a sustainable raw material, scientists are reporting use of a Nobel-Prize-winning technology to transform plant

Home visiting program for first-time moms may be struggling to reduce serious injuries to children
Researchers evaluated one of the nation's largest programs providing home visitation support for at-risk mothers and children over a seven-year period of widespread implementation within one state, and found injury prevention results may not be as successful in reducing early childhood injuries as it was in earlier evaluations.

Patients with family history of colorectal cancer may be at risk for aggressive form of the disease
When people with a family history of colorectal cancer develop the disease, their tumors often carry a molecular sign that the cancer could be life-threatening, report Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists.

Ancient Australian fossils were on land, not at sea, geologist proposes
Ancient multicellular fossils long thought to be ancestors of early marine life are remnants of land-dwelling lichen or other microbial colonies, says a University of Oregon scientist who has been studying fossil soils of South Australia.

No strong evidence to back use of cannabis extract in Multiple Sclerosis
There is no strong evidence to back the use of cannabis extract in the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis, concludes a review of the available evidence on the first licensed preparation, published in the December issue of Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin.

Chemical analysis reveals first cheese making in Northern Europe in the 6th millennium BC
The first unequivocal evidence that humans in prehistoric Northern Europe made cheese more than 7,000 years ago is described in research by an international team of scientists, led by the University of Bristol, UK, published today in Nature.

Preparing for bioterrorism
A new book,

ForWarn team wins 2013 Interagency Partnership Award
The US Forest Service Eastern Forest and Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Centers' ForWarn team is among the agency recipients of the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer's 2013 Interagency Partnership Award.

ASU experts say US needs to shift healthcare emphasis to pay for value
Regardless of what you think about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also called Obama Care, healthcare in the US needs a major overhaul.

10 researchers receive EMBO Installation Grants
Ten life science researchers will receive the 2012 EMBO Installation Grants.

High short-term risk of attempted suicide in teenagers following parents' suicide attempt
The risk that young people attempt to commit suicide is highest within two years after a parent has received inpatient care due to a mental disorder or suicide attempt, according to a study of over 15,000 teenagers and young adults.

Astronomers catch jet from binge-eating black hole
Back in January, a new X-ray source flared and rapidly brightened in the Andromeda galaxy, located 2.5 million light-years away.

Study details brain damage triggered by mini-strokes
A new study appearing today in the Journal of Neuroscience details for the first time how

Economists calculate true value of 'who' you know, rather than 'what' in US politics
Economists at the University of Warwick have calculated the true value of US political lobbyists, proving the old adage 'it is not what you know, but who you know'. 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