Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 19, 2012
Lizard tails detach at a biological 'dotted line'
Like sheets of paper marked with perforated lines, gecko tails have unique structural marks that help them sever their tails to make a quick getaway.

Affects of climate change to birds worsened by housing development
Although climate change may alter the distributions of many species, changes in land use may compound these effects.

Small changes in eating prompts weight loss
Making small easy changes to our eating habits on a consistent basis -- 25 days or more per month -- can lead to sustainable weight loss, according to research by Professor Brian Wansink in Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab.

MicroRNAs present exciting opportunities for cancer therapy and diagnosis
As many as 50 percent of all human protein-coding genes are regulated by microRNA (miRNA) molecules.

Delusions of gender: Men's insecurities may lead to sexist views of women
A new study led by Joshua Hart, assistant professor of psychology, suggests that men's insecurities about relationships and conflicted views of women as romantic partners and rivals could lead some to adopt sexist attitudes about women.

Robotic-assisted radical bladder surgery potentially benefits bladder cancer patients
About 30 percent of the more than 70,000 bladder cancer cases expected in 2012 are muscle invasive.

Time series of infrared NASA images show Cyclone Evan's decline
Cyclone Evan is now far south of Fiji and wind shear and cooler sea surface temperatures have been taking their toll on the storm and weakening it.

Pics, shoots and leaves: Ecologists turn digital cameras into climate change tools
As digital cameras become better and cheaper, ecologists are turning these ubiquitous consumer devices into scientific tools to study how forests are responding to climate change.

Closest sun-like star may have planets
An international team of scientists, including Carnegie's Paul Butler, has discovered that Tau Ceti, one of the closest and most sun-like stars, may have five planets.

How to look young when you're not
Some people are in great shape at the age of 90, while others are decrepit before they're 50.

Ancient Egyptians sold themselves into temple slavery
2,200 years ago in the ancient Egyptian city Tebtunis, Egyptians voluntarily entered into slave contracts with the local temple for all eternity.

Occasional family meals enough to boost kids' fruit and veg intake
Eating meals together as a family, even if only once or twice a week, increases children's daily fruit and vegetable intake to near the recommended five a day, according to researchers at the University of Leeds.

For power and status, dominance and skill trump likability
Finding the next Barack Obama or Warren Buffett might be as simple as looking at who attracts the most eyes in a crowd, a new University of British Columbia study finds.

Regular marijuana use by teens continues to be a concern
Continued high use of marijuana by the nation's eighth, 10th and 12th graders combined with a drop in perceptions of its potential harms was revealed in this year's Monitoring the Future survey, an annual survey of eighth, 10th, and 12th-graders conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan.

Artificial intelligence helps sort used batteries
Research at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden and Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden has resulted in a new type of machine that sorts used batteries by means of artificial intelligence.

Around 2 queries a week to UK poisons service concern...snakebites
Snakebite injuries account for around two phone queries every week to the UK National Poisons Information Service, indicates an audit published online in Emergency Medicine Journal.

Scientists construct first map of how the brain organizes everything we see
Our eyes may be our window to the world, but how do we make sense of the thousands of images that flood our retinas each day?

Johns Hopkins malpractice study: Surgical 'never events' occur at least 4,000 times per year
After a cautious and rigorous analysis of national malpractice claims, Johns Hopkins patient safety researchers estimate that a surgeon in the United States leaves a foreign object such as a sponge or a towel inside a patient's body after an operation 39 times a week, performs the wrong procedure on a patient 20 times a week and operates on the wrong body site 20 times a week.

UofL scientist uncovers how airway cells regenerate after chlorine gas injury
University of Louisville scientist Gary Hoyle, Ph.D., School of Public Health and Information Sciences Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, and his team have uncovered new clues in understanding how epithelial cells -- the cells that line the trachea, bronchi and other airways that carry air in and out of the lung -- repair themselves after chlorine gas exposure.

What do leeches, limpets and worms have in common? Now, a sequenced genome
A team of biologists report in this week's Nature the genome sequences of three organisms that represent more than one-quarter of marine species, including clams, octopuses and the segmented worms, including earthworms.

Impact of caring for adult child with disability studied
Parents of adult children with severe mental illness were more likely than parents of adult children with developmental disabilities or the comparison group to report that their spouse developed a disability in the early retirement years.

Alzheimer's disease: Cutting off immune response promises new approach to therapy
Researchers in Bonn, Germany, have identified a protein as a potential target for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

Experiencing discrimination increases risk-taking, anger, and vigilance
Experiencing rejection not only affects how we think and feel -- over the long-term it can also influence our physical and mental health.

Western University-led research debunks the IQ myth
After conducting the largest online intelligence study on record, a Western University-led research team has concluded that the notion of measuring one's intelligence quotient or IQ by a singular, standardized test is highly misleading.

Stars reveal the secrets of looking young
Some people are in great shape at the age of 90, while others are decrepit before they're 50.

Toward a pill to enable celiac patients to eat foods containing gluten
Scientists are reporting an advance toward development of a pill that could become celiac disease's counterpart to the lactase pills that people with lactose intolerance can take to eat dairy products without risking digestive upsets.

Multi-tasking whales sing while feeding, not just breeding
Humpback whales are famed for their songs, most often heard in breeding season when males are competing to mate with females.

'Study partners' play critical role in clinical trials for Alzheimer's disease
A new UCLA study has assessed the prevalence of study partner

Environmental performance affected by ethnicity and religion
Ethnically or religiously diverse countries underinvest in measures to improve their environmental performance, according to new research by an academic at the University of East Anglia.

Human history preserved in tree rings of prehistoric wooden wells
Prehistoric farming communities in Europe constructed water wells out of oak timbers, revealing that these first farmers were skilled carpenters long before metal was discovered or used for tools.

Super-fine sound beam could one day be an invisible scalpel
A carbon-nanotube-coated lens that converts light to sound can focus high-pressure sound waves to finer points than ever before.

Fine hands, fists of fury
Men whacked punching bags for a University of Utah study that suggests human hands evolved not only for the manual dexterity needed to use tools, play a violin or paint a work of art, but so men could make fists and fight.

Satire is shaping the next generation of American citizens
Satire has always played an important role in democracy, but a current group of television satirists are more influential than ever with American citizens, particularly younger ones, according to a Penn State researcher.

Described a key mechanism in muscle regeneration
Researchers at the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute have described a new selectively target in muscle regeneration.

Transplanted neural stem cells treat ALS in mouse model
A consortium of ALS researchers at multiple institutions, including Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and the University of Massachusetts Medical School, found that transplanting neural stem cells into an ALS mouse model slows disease progression and prolongs survival.

Successful solo rock/pop stars twice as likely to die early as those in a band
Successful solo rock/pop stars are around twice as likely to die early as those in equally famous bands, indicates research published in the online journal BMJ Open.

High-throughput sequencing shows potentially hundreds of gene mutations related to autism
Genomic technology has revolutionized gene discovery and disease understanding in autism, according to an article published in the Dec.

Inside the head of a dinosaur
A new study of the brain anatomy of therizinosaurs, plant-eating dinosaurs that lived during the Cretaceous Period, has revealed interesting links with their notorious meat-eating 'cousins' Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor.

Alzheimer's patients with non-spousal caregivers are less likely to participate in clinical trials
People with Alzheimer's disease are less likely to participate in a clinical trial if they have non-spouse caregivers, according to a study by a team of researchers including the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

NASA satellite finds an unusually tall storm-cell in Cyclone Evan
NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite found an unusually tall towering thunderstorm in Cyclone Evan.

Auto-immune disease: The viral route is confirmed
Why would our immune system turn against our own cells?

Men with fibromyalgia often go undiagnosed, Mayo Clinic study suggests
Fibromyalgia is a complex illness to diagnose and to treat.

Springer and the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan launch book series
Springer and the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) in Japan will partner to publish a new book series NIMS Monographs.

People without spouses under-represented in Alzheimer's clinical trials
A new study suggests that people without a spouse are represented less in Alzheimer's disease clinical trials compared to people with spouses.

Soybeans a source of valuable chemical
The humble soybean could become an inexpensive new source of a widely used chemical for plastics, textiles, drugs, solvents and as a food additive.

Geo-engineering against climate change
Plans for seeding the oceans with iron fail to take into account several factors that could scupper those plans, according to Daniel Harrison of the University of Sydney Institute of Marine Science, NSW, Australia, writing in the International Journal of Global Warming.

Bringing big data to biodiversity
On Dec. 1, 2012, a new large scale collaborative research project

Gene therapy cocktail shows promise in long-term clinical trial for rare fatal brain disorder
Results of a clinical trial that began in 2001 show that a gene therapy cocktail conveyed into the brain by a molecular special delivery vehicle may help extend the lives of children with Canavan disease, a rare and fatal neurodegenerative disorder.

UC Irvine study of leaping toads reveals muscle-protecting mechanism
Most people are impressed by how a toad jumps. UC Irvine biologist Emanuel Azizi is more impressed by how one lands.

Home automation solutions to facilitate control and safety of intensive livestock farms
To transfer home automation systems to intensive livestock farms and thus improve their control/monitoring and safety/security.

Synthetic and biological nanoparticles combined to produce new metamaterials
Scientists from Aalto University, Finland, have succeeded in organizing virus particles, protein cages and nanoparticles into crystalline materials.

Community togetherness plays vital role in coping with tragedies
Community support has remarkable benefits for people coping with traumatic mass shootings, according to an American-Finnish research study.

Not without my microbes
European forest cockchafers can damage huge areas of trees. They house microbes in their guts that help them to digest their woody food.

Scientists establish link between inflammatory process and progression of Alzheimer's disease
Researchers from UMass Medical School have shown that a well-known inflammatory process plays an important role in Alzheimer's disease.

Why our backs can't read braille
Johns Hopkins scientists have created stunning images of the branching patterns of individual sensory nerve cells.

Music with dinner: Whales sing during foraging season, not just while breeding
Humpback whales might be expected to take their food seriously given their enormous size, but a new study shows that they may multi-task as they eat, singing mating or breeding songs as they forage in their Antarctic feeding grounds.

Genomic frontier: The unexplored animal kingdom
A new report in Nature unveils three of the first genomes from a vast, understudied swath of the animal kingdom that includes as many as one-quarter of Earth's marine species.

The role of the innate immune cells in the development of type 1 diabetes
Julien Diana and Yannick Simoni of the

Desert Research Institute utilizing IBM big data analytics to assist Nevada's growth strategy
The Nevada Governor's Office of Economic Development and the Desert Research Institute today announced they are working with IBM to evaluate the capabilities of big data analytics and advanced research applications in the state's higher education system.

Pigs in southern China infected with avian flu
Researchers report for the first time the seroprevalence of three strains of avian influenza viruses in pigs in southern China, but not the H5N1 avian influenza virus.

Biologists design method to monitor global bee decline
A United Nations-funded study has found that a global network of bee traps may form an early warning system alerting scientists to dangers threatening the world's food system and economies.

Brake on nerve cell activity after seizures discovered
Selected genes get switched on during and after a seizure, sending signals to reduce uncontrolled firing of nerve cells.

NYSCF and CUMC scientists develop scientific technique to help prevent inherited disorders in humans
A joint team of scientists from the New York Stem Cell Foundation Laboratory and Columbia University Medical Center has developed a technique that may prevent the inheritance of mitochondrial diseases in children.

NASA's Operation IceBridge data brings new twist to sea ice forecasting
Shrinking Arctic sea ice grabbed the world's attention again earlier this year with a new record low minimum.

First freshwater mosasaur discovered
A new dinosaur species discovered in Hungary is the first known example of a mosasaur that lived in freshwater river environments similar to modern freshwater dolphins, according to research published December 19 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Laszlo Makadi from the Hungarian Natural History Museum, Hungary and colleagues from the University of Alberta, Canada and MTA-ELTE Lendület Dinosaur Research Group, Hungary.

Scientists develop technique to help prevent inherited disorders in humans
A joint team of scientists from The New York Stem Cell Foundation Laboratory and Columbia University Medical Center has developed a technique that may prevent the inheritance of mitochondrial diseases in children.

Global collaborative efforts help delineate pediatric TBI in China
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) among children in China are a growing public health concern.

Ames Laboratory scientists granted time on world's fastest computer
Scientists at the US Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have been awarded 45 million processor-hours of computer time on Titan, the world's premier open science supercomputer.

Successful results against human leishmaniasis with a more efficient and economic vaccine
A research coordinated by the UAB has succeeded in testing a vaccine against leishmaniasis.

NC State awarded $9 million to make installing home solar energy systems easier, less expensive
A new grant to North Carolina State University and several partners could make installing rooftop solar energy systems much less expensive and time consuming.

The road to systems medicine
A European consortium has joined forces in the Coordinating Action Systems Medicine - CASyM, supported by the FP7- Directorate-General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission, to develop a road map outlining an integrative strategy for the implementation of systems medicine across Europe.

Scripps Florida scientists develop new compound that reverses fatty liver disease
Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have developed the first synthetic compound that can reverse the effects of a serious metabolic condition known as fatty liver disease.

JILA physicists achieve elusive 'evaporative cooling' of molecules
Achieving a goal considered nearly impossible, JILA physicists have chilled a gas of molecules to very low temperatures by adapting the familiar process by which a hot cup of coffee cools.

Are bacteria making you hungry?
Over the last half decade, it has become increasingly clear that the normal gastrointestinal (GI) bacteria play a variety of very important roles in the biology of human and animals.

UT Arlington civil engineers increasing energy created from solid waste
Two UT Arlington civil engineering professors are working with a new imaging system that has doubled the amount of methane gas produced by the city of Denton landfill.

National Academy of Inventors names four UT Arlington professors as charter fellows
Four University of Texas at Arlington engineering professors have been named charter fellows to the National Academy of Inventors.

New dynamic dual-core optical fiber enhances data routes on information superhighway
Optical fibers -- the backbone of the Internet -- carry movies, messages, and music at the speed of light.

The success of the Red One in South Africa increased Iberia and Sol Melia shares by one percent
The triumph of Spain's national selection in the 2010 world championships brought about an increase in the market value of Spanish tourism companies that translated into millions of euros, according to a study conducted by the University of Alicante.

Fast-acting enzymes with 2 fingers: Protein structurally and dynamically explained
Researchers at the RUB and from the MPI Dortmund have uncovered the mechanism that switches off the cell transport regulating proteins.

Impaired melatonin secretion may play a role in premenstrual syndrome
Researchers shows altered body rhythms of the hormone melatonin in Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) women with insomnia.

HIV patients in care lose more years of life to smoking than to HIV infection
Among HIV patients receiving well-organized care with free access to antiretroviral therapy, those who smoke lose more years of life to smoking than to HIV, according to a Danish study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases and available online.

Unraveling the threads: Simplest cotton genome offers clues for fiber improvements
An international consortium including DOE Joint Genome Institute researchers published a high-quality draft assembly of the simplest cotton genome in the Dec.

When the ice melts, the Earth spews fire
It has long been known that volcanic activity can cause short-term variations in climate.

Public obsession with obesity may be more dangerous than obesity itself, UCLA author says
Much has been made about whom or what to blame for the

Protein creates paths for growing nerve cells
Working with mice, Johns Hopkins scientists have discovered that a particular protein helps nerve cells extend themselves along the spinal cord during mammalian development.

UH superconductivity researcher receives additional DOE funding for wind project
The DOE has awarded additional funding to the University of Houston for a superconductivity project involving wind energy generation and transportation.

From farm to table, mealworms may be the next best food
Food enthusiasts interested in sustainable farm practices may soon have a new meat alternative: insects.

Better approach to treating deadly melanoma identified by scientists
Scientists at the University of Manchester have identified a protein that appears to hold the key to creating more effective drug treatments for melanoma, one of the deadliest cancers.

Badger sleeping habits could help target TB control
Sleeping away from the family home is linked to health risks for badgers, new research by the University of Exeter and the Food and Environment Research Agency has revealed.

Healthy lifestyle during menopause may decrease breast cancer risk later on
In lean models, excess fat and glucose were taken up by the liver, mammary and skeletal tissues.

Policy report calls for raise in minimum wage
Raising the minimum wage to a living wage begins the cycle of lifting single mothers out of poverty.

Radiation Research Society honors 2 faculty
Two Washington University faculty members have received awards from the Radiation Research Society recognizing their contributions to research in the field and their service to the society.

Transplanted neural stem cells slows als onset and progression in mouse models
Promising new research provides evidence that ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, may be treatable using neural stem cells.

Regular family meals together boost kids' fruit and vegetable intake
Regular family meals round a table boosts kids' fruit and vegetable intake, and make it easier for them to reach the recommended five portions a day, indicates research published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

University of Texas at Austin Team develops a microwave-assisted method for producing thin films
A UT-Austin research team has demonstrated that assembly of so-called thin films is possible at low temperatures.

A new, super-nutritious puffed rice for breakfast cereals and snacks
A new process for blowing up grains of rice produces a super-nutritious form of puffed rice, with three times more protein and a rich endowment of other nutrients that make it ideal for breakfast cereals, snack foods and nutrient bars for school lunch programs, scientists are reporting.

New treatment may relieve chronic shortness of breath
People experiencing chronic shortness of breath may soon have a new way to help alleviate their discomfort, according to a Penn State College of Medicine pulmonology researcher.

Asthmatics at increased risk of pulmonary embolism
People with asthma have an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, according to new research.

Paper waste used to make bricks
Researchers at the University of Jaen have mixed waste from the paper industry with ceramic material used in the construction industry.

Alzheimer's Disease: Inflammation as a new therapeutic approach
The number of Alzheimer's patients will continue to dramatically increase in the next several decades.

Stem cell research shows ALS may be treatable
Results from eleven independent ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) research studies are giving hope to the ALS community -- showing for the first time that the disease may be treatable by targeting new mechanisms revealed by neural stem cell-based studies.

School shootings: What we know and what we can do
School shootings at elementary, secondary and higher education institutions have been a painful reality for American society.But can anything realistically be done to prevent these horrific crimes?

Fighting shaped human hands
We're all used to the idea that humans evolved their distinctive hand proportions for enhanced dexterity, but now David Carrier and Michael Morgan from the University of Utah, USA, have come up with an alternative theory: that human hands evolved for combat.

Study reveals how the brain categorizes thousands of objects and actions
Humans perceive numerous categories of objects and actions, but where are these categories represented spatially in the brain?

Study reveals that animals contribute to seagrass dispersal
Study is first to show that marine animals can disperse eelgrass seeds, with implications for management and restoration.

Helping the nose know
More than 100 years after it was first identified, researchers have, for the first time, described how a feedback mechanism works in the brain's olfactory system by identifying where the signals go, and which type of neurons receive them.

UT Arlington engineers working to prevent heat buildup within 3D integrated circuits
In the effort to pile more power atop silicon chips, engineers have developed the equivalent of mini-skyscrapers in three-dimensional integrated circuits and encountered a new challenge: how to manage the heat created within the tiny devices.

A mathematical formula to decipher the geometry of surfaces like that of cauliflower
Scientists at the Universidad Carlos III of Madrid have taken part in a research project that describes, for the first time, that laws that govern the development of certain complex natural patterns, such as those found on the surface of cauliflower.

New study sheds light on dinosaur size
Dinosaurs were not only the largest animals to roam the Earth -- they also had a greater number of larger species compared to all other back-boned animals -- scientists suggest in a new paper published in the journal PLOS ONE today.

LSUHSC research discovery provides therapeutic target for ALS
Research led by Dr. Udai Pandey, Assistant Professor of Genetics at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, has found that the ability of a protein made by a gene called FUS to bind to RNA is essential to the development of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

Treating tobacco addiction a 'duty,' argue text editors
Researchers from the University of Alberta are helping Canadian smokers butt out with a new textbook designed to give health professionals the right tools to treat tobacco addiction.

UH assistant mechanical engineering professor wins 2013 NSF CAREER Grant
An assistant mechanical engineering professor at the University of Houston has received a 2013 NSF CAREER award to study stretchable batteries.

Wine and tea are key ingredients in South African plan to grow domestic research
The South African government is investing in scientific research to foster production of agricultural products like pinotage (a red wine) and honeybush (source of a fragrant tea) to create jobs and boost the economy.

Scale-up of a temporary bioartificial liver support system described in BioResearch Open Access
Acute liver failure is usually fatal without a liver transplant, but the liver can regenerate and recover if given time to heal.

Cholesterol helps regulate key signaling proteins in the cell
Cholesterol plays a key role in regulating proteins involved in cell signaling and may be important to many other cell processes, an international team of researchers has found.

American Mathematical Society to award prizes
On Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, the American Mathematical Society will award several major prizes at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Diego.

California's graduate students in environmental sciences lag behind in technology, computation
UC Riverside researchers have conducted a study showing that many skills and practices that could help scientists make use of technological and computational opportunities are only marginally being taught in California's formal graduate programs in the environmental sciences.

Sustainable way to make a prized fragrance ingredient
Large amounts of a substitute for one of the world's most treasured fragrance ingredients -- a substance that also has potential anti-cancer activity -- could be produced with a sustainable new technology, scientists are reporting. 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