Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 14, 2012
Study fuels insight into conversion of wood to bio-oil
New research from North Carolina State University provides molecular-level insights into how cellulose -- the most common organic compound on Earth and the main structural component of plant cell walls -- breaks down in wood to create

The HER2 paradox: HER2-positive stem cells found in HER2-negative breast cancer
A multicenter study led by researchers at UC Davis describes new, paradoxical characteristics of the most common type of breast cancer.

Crowdsourcing to kickstart comeback from ash dieback
Scientists from The Sainsbury Laboratory and the John Innes Centre publish the first RNA sequence data on the ash dieback fungus causing an epidemic of disease.

1 in 10 6- to 8-year-olds has sleep-disordered breathing
Approximately ten percent of 6 year olds have sleep-disordered breathing, according to a recent Finnish study.

UCLA engineers develop new energy-efficient computer memory using magnetic materials
By using electric voltage instead of a flowing electric current, researchers from UCLA's Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have made major improvements to an ultra-fast, high-capacity class of computer memory known as magnetoresistive random access memory, or MRAM.

UCSB physicists make strides in understanding quantum entanglement
While some theoretical physicists make predictions about astrophysics and the behavior of stars and galaxies, others work in the realm of the very small, which includes quantum physics.

Research explores how children reason, think about others
Two new studies published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, explore the development of reasoning and perspective-taking in children.

Fungus responsible for 5 deaths in the wake of massive tornado
A fast growing, flesh-eating fungus killed 5 people following a massive tornado that devastated Joplin, Mo., according to two new studies based on genomic sequencing by the Translational Genomics Research Institute and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What mechanism generates our fingers and toes?
Dr. Marie Kmita and her research team at the IRCM contributed to a multidisciplinary research project that identified the mechanism responsible for generating our fingers and toes, and revealed the importance of gene regulation in the transition of fins to limbs during evolution.

Schizophrenia linked to social inequality
Higher rates of schizophrenia in urban areas can be attributed to increased deprivation, increased population density and an increase in inequality within a neighborhood, new research reveals.

Chronic alcohol and marijuana use during youth can compromise white-matter integrity
Chronic alcohol and marijuana during youth is associated with worsened neurocognitive abilities into later adolescence and adulthood.

Pitt Cancer Institute finds new targets for drugs to defeat aggressive brain tumor
University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute researchers have identified over 125 genetic components in a chemotherapy-resistant, brain tumor-derived cell line, which could offer new hope for drug treatment to destroy the cancer cells.

Carriers of gene variant appear less likely to develop heart disease
Tufts University scientists have discovered a new gene mechanism that appears to regulate triglyceride levels.

Male bushcrickets are in charge when it comes to sex
When bushcrickets mate, the male attaches the so-called spermatophore to the female's abdomen.

Biostatistics serving biomedicine: International meeting of biostaticians in Barcelona
Statistics have entered the life sciences and they are here to stay.

High-tech cerebral palsy research at SDSU
An SDSU professor uses Hollywood technology to research facial movements and speech-language development in children with cerebral palsy.

Extending Einstein
Physicists at the University of Calgary and at the Institute for Quantum Computing in Waterloo have published new research in Nature Physics which builds on the original ideas of Einstein and adds a new ingredient: a third entangled particle.

Leibniz Prizes 2013: DFG honors 11 outstanding researchers
The new recipients of Germany's most prestigious research funding prize have been announced: On Thursday, 6 Dec.

Study questions reasons for routine pelvic exams
The pelvic exam, a standard part of a woman's gynecologic checkup, frequently is performed for reasons that are medically unjustified, according to the authors of a UCSF study that may lay the groundwork for future changes to medical practice. 

NSF-funded researcher finds camp site from the 'heroic age' of Antarctic exploration
A National Science Foundation-funded research team working on the slopes of the world's southernmost active volcano appears to have found the remains of a camp used by explorers of the so-called

VTT's weLearn application supports learning
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed a free e-learning application called weLearn for Android tablets.

Impaired executive function may exacerbate impulsiveness and risk of developing alcohol dependence
Executive function (EF) guides complex behavior such as planning, decision-making, and response control.

We're all living longer, but longevity increases not benefitting everybody
Global lifespans have risen dramatically in the past 40 years, but the increased life expectancy is not benefitting everybody equally, say University of Toronto researchers.

Study is first to find significant link between sleepiness and vitamin D
A new study suggests that there is a significant correlation between excessive daytime sleepiness and vitamin D, and race plays an important factor.

Researchers and company from Luxembourg awarded a grant from Michael J. Fox Foundation
AxoGlia Therapeutics SA, a biopharmaceutical company which drives the development of innovative neural stem/progenitor cell differentiation and neuroprotective therapeutics, today announced that it has been awarded a Rapid Response Innovative Award from The Michael J.

Video-based test to study language development in toddlers and children with autism
Psychologists study clues that provide a point of measurement for psychologists interested in language comprehension of toddlers and young children with autism, as demonstrated in a new video-article published in JoVE.

NSF-funded inventory of mega-diverse insect order now underway
An ambitious three-year insect inventory of a Costa Rican rainforest, funded by a $900,000 National Science Foundation, is now underway.

3 Johns Hopkins researchers named AAAS Fellows
Three Johns Hopkins researchers have been elected by their peers as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Improved techniques may help recovery and prevent incidents of missing drivers with dementia
A University of South Florida-led study focusing on characteristics of people with dementia who become lost while driving, and the role of public notification systems like Silver Alert in these discoveries, makes recommendations that may help recover drivers with dementia and prevent potentially harmful incidents.

Alcohol marketers use drinker identity and brand allegiance to entice underage youth
Underage youth are regularly exposed to alcohol marketing. New research has examined associations between alcohol marketing and binge drinking by youth.

Fertile soil doesn't fall from the sky
Remains of dead bacteria have far greater meaning for soils than previously assumed.

American Chemical Society to honor UT Arlington chemist
Kevin Schug, an associate professor at The University of Texas at Arlington, will be recognized next year at the international laboratory science conference Pittcon 2013 for his outstanding contributions to analytical chemistry, the conference's organizing committee announced this week.

Dreidel-like dislocations lead to remarkable properties
Dreidel-shaped dislocations put a new spin on two-dimensional materials for advanced electronics, hinting at sub-nanometer signal paths.

A drug used to treat HIV might defuse deadly staph infections
A new study by NYU School of Medicine researchers suggests that an existing HIV drug called maraviroc could be a potential therapy for Staphylococcus aureus, a notorious and deadly pathogen linked to hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations each year.

McLean study finds long-term anabolic-androgenic steroid use may impact visuospatial memory
The long-term use of anabolic-androgenic steroids may severely impact the user's ability to accurately recall the shapes and spatial relationships of objects, according to a recent study conducted by McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School investigators.

The mu opioid receptor genotype may be a marker for those who drink for alcohol's rewarding effects
Previous research has found that individuals who become more energized, talkative, and/or social when they drink - versus sedated or sleepy - are more likely to drink heavier.

Stretchable electronics
Electronic devices become smaller, lighter, faster and more powerful with each passing year.

Doing the right thing when things go wrong
The Univ. of Michigan Health System doesn't claim to be perfect.

Physical constant passes the alcohol test
Fundamental properties of molecules have not changed during the past seven billion years.

Regenstrief investigator inducted into medical informatics honor society
Regenstrief Institute investigator Shaun Grannis M.D., M.S., associate professor of family medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine, has been inducted as a fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics.

Ibrutinib has 'unprecedented' impact on mantle cell lymphoma
An international study of ibrutinib in people with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma continues to show unprecedented and durable results with few side effects.

Drug to treat opioid addiction poses risks for accidental exposure to children
Buprenorphine is a safe and effective drug for treating opioid addiction.

More casinos does not mean more gamblers
While the number of casinos in Iowa has doubled since 1995, there are fewer gamblers overall, and fewer gambling addicts as well, according to a new study from the University of Iowa.

Hard-to-treat Myc-driven cancers may be susceptible to drug already used in clinic
Drugs that are used in the clinic to treat some forms of breast and kidney cancer and that work by inhibiting the signaling molecule mTORC1 might have utility in treating some of the more than 15 percent of human cancers driven by alterations in the Myc gene, according to data from a preclinical study published in Cancer Discovery.

Raising the blockade
At crucial points in the metabolism of all organisms, a protein with the unwieldy name of Translation Elongation Factor P takes center stage.

Press conferences for the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) Annual Meeting
Press registration is now open for the SPSP annual meeting Jan.

Negative emotionality may make some people more prone to alcohol or other drug problems
Sensitivity to the stimulating effects of alcohol and other drugs is a risk marker for their problematic use.

Early drunkenness may be riskier than an early age at first drink for problem behaviors
Many researchers and clinicians believe that an early age at first drink (AFD) can lead to alcohol problems.

NASA awards $36 million to UMD for earth systems study
NASA has awarded a $36 million cooperative funding agreement to the University of Maryland to continue collaborative research in the field of earth systems science.

Changes in the gut bacteria protect against stroke
Researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and the Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, demonstrate that an altered gut microbiota in humans is associated with symptomatic atherosclerosis and stroke.

NASA sees Tropical Cyclone Evan batter and drench Samoan Islands
NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite continues to provide rainfall and cloud height data on powerful Cyclone Evan as it crawls through the Samoan Islands with hurricane-force winds and heavy rains.

The Sackler Institute unveils a global research agenda for nutrition science
On Dec. 17-18, the Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science at the New York Academy of Sciences, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, will present an unprecedented global research agenda for the nutrition science community, policy makers, and global leaders.

If you cut down a tree in the forest, can wildlife hear it?
A new tool developed by the Wildlife Conservation Society and its partners is being used by scientists and land managers to model how noise travels through landscapes and affects species and ecosystems -- a major factor in land and wildlife management decisions such as where to locate new roads or recreational trails.

In decision-making, it might be worth trusting your gut
Turns out the trope is true: You should trust your gut -- as long as you're an expert.

UCLA stem cell researchers receive more than $6 million in grants from state agency
Two cardiology investigators from the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA have been awarded grants totaling more than $6 million from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, the state's stem cell agency.

CU-Boulder team develops swarm of pingpong-ball-sized robots
University of Colorado Boulder Assistant Professor Nikolaus Correll likes to think in multiples.

Use 'em, don't lose 'em! Eating egg yolks adds nutritious benefits
Decades of mixed messaging regarding dietary cholesterol have led to avoidance of certain foods, such as eggs, particularly among individuals who are faced with health conditions.

New findings on killer bacteria's defence
New research from Lund University casts new light on the interaction between the immune system and streptococcus bacteria, which cause both mild tonsillitis and serious infections such as sepsis and necrotising fasciitis.

NHS consultant contract fails to increase productivity
An employment contract for NHS consultants introduced in 2003 and including a 27 percent pay rise over three years failed to increase productivity.

Low adiponcetin associated with increased pancreatic cancer risk
Low prediagnostic levels of circulating adiponectin were associated with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer, according to a study published December 14 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

'House hunters walrus'
Walrus use sea ice as a reproductive, migration and resting habitat.

Vitamin D deficiency may contribute to alcohol-related muscular weakness
Myopathy refers to a disease characterized by muscular weakness and wasting. 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