Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 20, 2012
Small wasps to control a big pest?
Five species of parasitic wasps have been found associated with the vector of the Pine Wood Nematode.

A nanoscale window to the biological world
Investigators at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have invented a way to directly image biological structures at their most fundamental level and in their natural habitats.

Unlocking new talents in nature
Protein engineers at the California Institute of Technology have tapped into a hidden talent of one of nature's most versatile catalysts.

Stroke drug kills bacteria that cause ulcers and tuberculosis
A drug for ischemic strokes may also treat tuberculosis and ulcers.

Wallace's century-old map of natural world updated
Until today, Alfred Russell Wallace's century old map from 1876 has been the backbone for our understanding of global biodiversity.

Gladstone scientists identify powerful infection strategy of widespread and potentially lethal virus
Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes have mapped the molecular mechanism by which a virus known as cytomegalovirus so successfully infects its hosts.

Dragonflies have human-like 'selective attention'
University of Adelaide researchers have found evidence that dragonflies are capable of higher-level thought processes when hunting prey.

Study reports iron oxide nanoparticles effective for labeling human endothelial cells
Researchers found that iron oxide nanoparticles (INOPS) are a useful contrast agent for in vivo magnetic resonance tracking of transplanted human endothelial cells.

Innovation and development of a new lock with built-in electronics
Tecnalia, together with the CVL and DORLET brands, has developed a new lock with built-in electronics that is going to be marketed under the CVL brand within the INDECO range.

BGI reports the new findings reveal blood pressure dugs may treat chronic pain
BGI reports the new findings reveal blood pressure drugs may treat chronic pain.

Temple researcher shows diabetes, blood pressure link to colon cancer recurrence, survival
A retrospective analysis of more than 36,000 patients with colon cancer showed that those with early stage disease and diabetes or high blood pressure -- two components of metabolic syndrome -- have a greater risk for cancer recurrence and of dying compared to patients without either condition.

Eighth Landsat satellite arrives at launch site
An oversized semi-trailer truck carrying NASA's Landsat Data Continuity Mission has arrived at its launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in preparation for launch.

Research pinpoints key gene for regenerating cells after heart attack
UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have pinpointed a molecular mechanism needed to unleash the heart's ability to regenerate, a critical step toward developing eventual therapies for damage suffered following a heart attack.

Serendipity points to new potential target and therapy for melanoma
A University of Colorado Cancer Center study in this month's edition of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology describes a new target and potential treatment for melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer.

Preventing prostate cancer through androgen deprivation may have harmful effects
Mice deficient in PTEN in the prostate developed stable precancers.

Production of 5-aminovaleric and glutaric acid by metabolically engineered microorganism
A Korean research team led by Distinguished Professor Sang Yup Lee at the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, applied systems metabolic engineering approach to develop recombinant Escherichia coli for the production of 5-aminovaleric acid and glutaric acid, the promising C5 platform chemicals, by fermentation.

Motivation, study habits -- not IQ -- determine growth in math achievement
It's not how smart students are but how motivated they are and how they study that determines their growth in math achievement.

Game changing diagnostic & prognostic prostate cancer genetic tests revealed by Jefferson
Researchers at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson have developed potentially game-changing diagnostic and prognostic genetic tests shown to better predict prostate cancer survival outcomes and distinguish clinically-relevant cancers.

Parents' addiction, unemployment and divorce are risk factors for childhood abuse
Adults who had parents who struggled with addiction, unemployment and divorce are 10 times more likely to have been victims of childhood physical abuse, according to a new study prepared by the University of Toronto's Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work.

GEOLOGY returns to Naica Cave, Mexico, and extends its reach to Mercury
GEOLOGY ends 2012 with 23 new articles spanning a variety of geoscience phenomena and locations, including Mercury; Naica Cave, Mexico; Diamantina, Brazil; the Galápagos hotspot; China; the Aleutian island arc; Disko Bay and Uummannaq Fjord, central West Greenland; the California arc; the Pacific Ring of Fire; Po Plain, Italy; Torfajökull, Iceland; the US Sierra Nevada; Spain; New Zealand; Turkey; Connecticut, USA; and Texas, US.

Study looks at gray seal impact on beach water quality
Scientists from the newly created Northwest Atlantic Seal Research Consortium are using data collected by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to investigate whether seals may impact beach water quality along Outer Cape Cod.

Genetic defect causing fragile X-related disorders more common than thought
A single genetic defect on the X chromosome that can result in a wide array of conditions -- from learning and emotional difficulties to primary ovarian insufficiency in women and tremors in middle-aged men -- occurs at a much greater frequency than previously thought, research led by the UC Davis MIND Institute has found.

Removing protein 'garbage' in nerve cells may help control 2 neurodegenerative diseases
A group of neuroscientists say they have new evidence that challenges scientific dogma involving two fatal neurodegenerative diseases -- amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and frontotemporal dementia -- and, in the process, have uncovered a possible therapeutic target as a novel strategy to treat both disorders.

Science's Breakthrough of the Year: Discovery of the Higgs boson
The observation of an elusive sub-atomic particle, known as the Higgs boson, has been heralded by the journal Science as the most important scientific discovery of 2012.

A urine test for a rare and elusive disease
A set of proteins detected in urine by researchers at Boston Children's Hospital may prove to be the first biomarkers for Kawasaki disease, an uncommon but increasingly prevalent disease which causes inflammation of blood vessels that can lead to enlarged coronary arteries and even heart attacks in some children.

Research reveals new drug target urgently needed for tuberculosis therapy
One third of the world is infected with the bacterium that causes tuberculosis, a disease that is increasingly difficult to treat because of wide spread resistance to available drugs.

Discovery of Africa moth species important for agriculture, controlling invasive plants
In the rain forests of the Congo, where mammals and birds are hunted to near-extinction, an impenetrable sound of buzzing insects blankets the atmosphere.

4 plus 1, raised to a higher power
The American Mathematical Society (AMS) selected four of the five full professors in the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) Mathematics Department to its inaugural class of Fellows of the AMS.

Discovery could eventually help diagnose and treat chronic pain
More than 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. But treating and studying chronic pain is complex and presents many challenges.

New target for treating prediabetes in patients with kidney disease
Retention of certain compounds that are normally excreted by the kidneys may cause insulin resistance, or prediabetes, in kidney disease patients.

Changing our material future, layer by layer
Researchers are aiming to develop a new class of materials with remarkable properties using one atom-thick substances such as graphene in a new collaborative project.

Discovery may pave way to genetically enhanced biofuel crops
Given that fermenting bacteria readily convert six-carbon sugars into the biofuel ethanol, it would be advantageous to generate biofuel crops with increased levels of these sugars.

Virtual reality and robotics in neurosurgery -- promise and challenges
Robotic technologies have the potential to help neurosurgeons perform precise, technically demanding operations, together with virtual reality environments to help them navigate through the brain, according to a special supplement to Neurosurgery, official journal of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

The JAMA Network announces new names, new embargo schedules for specialty journals
Starting Jan. 1, 2013 the Archives journals will have new titles and a new distribution schedule.

Sync to grow
Researchers at EMBL are one step closer to understanding how embryos develop and grow while always keeping the same proportions between their various parts.

Barbara Gilchrest named 2012 Charter Fellow by National Academy of Inventors
Barbara Gilchrest has been named a 2012 Charter Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.

Extending steroid treatment does not benefit children with hard-to-treat kidney disease
Six months of steroid treatment in children with nephrotic syndrome did not reduce relapse rates or side effects compared with three months of treatment.

Cultural, social factors identified as barriers to minority participation in stem cell donation
New research examining the role of race and ethnicity in an individual's decision to become a donor for hematopoietic cell transplantation identifies several factors associated with varied participation rates in national donor registries across racial/ethnic groups.

33 new trapdoor spider species discovered in the American southwest
An Auburn University researcher reports the discovery of 33 new trapdoor spider species from the US.

The paths of photons are random -- but coordinated
Researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute have demonstrated that photons (light particles) emitted from light sources embedded in a complex and disordered structure are able to mutually coordinate their paths through the medium.

Meteorite triggered scientific gold rush
A meteorite that exploded as a fireball over California's Sierra foothills this past spring was among the fastest, rarest meteorites known to have hit the Earth, and it traveled a highly eccentric orbital route to get here.

Neuroscience: The extraordinary ease of ordinal series
Familiar categories whose members appear in orderly sequences are processed differently than others in the brain, according to new research published by David Eagleman in the open access journal Frontiers in Neuroscience.

Mutation hotspots in autism genes
Genes implicated in autism and other human diseases are prone to frequent mutations, according to a study published by Cell Press on Dec.

MCG faculty member, former hostage returns to Kuwait as Fulbright Scholar
The last six months Dr. James E. Carroll spent in Kuwait were in 1990 and as a hostage in the US Embassy.

Scripps Florida scientists create new approach to destroy disease-associated RNAs in cells
Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have developed a new approach to alter the function of RNA in living cells by designing molecules that recognize and disable RNA targets.

Toddlers' language skills predict less anger by preschool
Toddlers with more developed language skills are better able to manage frustration and less likely to express anger by the time they're in preschool.

Study shows heart calcium scan predictive of diabetes-related death from cardiovascular disease
People with Type 2 diabetes have two to four times the risk of cardiovascular disease compared to people without the disease.

Silver sheds light on superconductor secrets
The first report on the chemical substitution, or doping, using silver atoms, for a new class of superconductor that was only discovered this year, is about to be published in EPJ B.

Spanish consumers prefer national fish
What is most important when buying fish: The price, the country of origin, whether it is fresh or frozen or whether it is wild or farm-raised?

Genetic differences may influence sensitivity to pain, according to new study
A particular set of genes that interact with one another to regulate pain in humans has been identified by a team of scientists led by King's College London.

Peacock love songs lure eavesdropping females from afar
The distinctive call that male peacocks make right before mating poses a puzzle for scientists.

Clean air: New paints break down nitrogen oxides
Surfaces with photo-catalytic characteristics clean the air off nitrogen oxides and other health-endangering substances.

Shedding light on Anderson localization
Waves do not spread in a disordered medium if there is less than one wavelength between two defects.

Aldrich Materials Science discovers liquid-free preparation of metal organic frameworks
Researchers from Aldrich Materials Science have discovered an innovative approach to fully excluding liquids from the preparation of MOFs.

MIT researchers discover a new kind of magnetism
Experiments demonstrate

Chromosome 'anchors' organize DNA during cell division
For humans to grow and to replace and heal damaged tissues, the body's cells must continually reproduce, a process known as

Peel-and-Stick solar panels from Stanford engineering
Decal-like application process allows thin, flexible solar panels to be applied to virtually any surface from business cards to roofs to window panes.

Black piranha, megapiranha have most powerful bites of fish living or extinct, finds GW researcher
The black piranha and the extinct giant piranha, or megapiranha, have the most powerful bites of carnivorous fishes, living or extinct, once body size is taken into account, finds researchers in a paper recently published in Scientific Reports.

Better stroke care, everywhere: NIH-funded study boosts local hospitals' clotbuster use
From the moment a stroke occurs, patients must race against the clock to get treatment that can prevent lasting damage.

World Allergy Organization's official journal to become open access
BioMed Central, the open access publisher, is pleased to announce the World Allergy Organization Journal , the official journal of the World Allergy Organization, is moving to BioMed Central's open access publishing platform to join our growing open access allergy portfolio.

Origin of life emerged from cell membrane bioenergetics
A coherent pathway which starts from no more than rocks, water and carbon dioxide and leads to the emergence of the strange bio-energetic properties of living cells, has been traced for the first time in a major hypothesis paper in Cell this week.

Pair of proteins gets brain cells into shape
Scientists at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Bonn have gained new insights into the early phase of the brain's development.

Cell Transplantation study investigates fate and function of cells transplanted to the CNS
What is the fate and function of transplanted cells? A research team aimed at answering this question by determining how five varieties of cells - neural stem cells, mouse embryonic fibroblasts, dendritic cells, bone marrow mononuclear cells and splenocytes - functioned and survived after transplantation into the CNS.

University of Alberta research working towards treatment for aortic aneurysms in the abdomen
A researcher with the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry and the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute is looking closely at a molecule linked to aortic aneurysms in the abdomen, and her findings could lead to a treatment to reduce swelling of the aortic artery, which would be a life-saving treatment.

Supportive role models, coping lead to better health in poor teens
While low socioeconomic status is often a strong determinant of chronic disease, new research shows that low-income teenagers who have supportive role models and who use adaptive coping strategies have lower levels of interleukin-6, a marker for cardiovascular risk.

Engineers seek ways to convert methane into useful chemicals
With natural gas production rising, engineers and scientists are seeking ways to convert methane into useful chemicals.

Can observations of a hardy weed help feed the world?
In the January 2013 issue of International Journal of Plant Sciences, Penn State University Waller Professor of Plant Biology Dr.

2 novel treatments for retinitis pigmentosa move closer to clinical trials
Two recent experimental treatments -- one involving skin-derived induced pluripotent stem cell grafts, the other gene therapy -- have been shown to produce long-term improvement in visual function in mouse models of retinitis pigmentosa (RP), according to the Columbia University Medical Center scientists who led the studies.

EPSRC announces green engineering fellowships
Four leading academics from the universities of Exeter, Sheffield, Bristol and Cambridge have been awarded substantial fellowship grants, totaling £2.38 million; it was announced today by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Italian wolves prefer pork to venison
Some European wolves have a distinct preference for wild boar over other prey, according to new research.

Topics of teen sibling fights affect anxiety, depression, self-esteem
Conflict between teen siblings can be associated with different psychological outcomes, depending on the type of conflict.

Rensselaer awarded gift to establish fellowship in astrobiology
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute announced today a $480,000 gift from the Emily Landecker Foundation.

Physicians admit feeling under qualified and lacking necessary education to treat obesity
New study finds that only 44 percent of primary care physicians reported success in helping obese patients lose weight and many identified nutritionists and dietitians as the most qualified providers to care for obese patients.

Cellphone data helps pinpoint source of traffic tie-ups
A new study shows that traffic congestion can be alleviated throughout a metropolitan area by altering the trips of drivers in specific neighborhoods.

Cellphone, GPS data suggest new strategy for alleviating traffic tie-ups
Researchers from MIT and UC Berkeley tracked traffic in Boston and San Francisco with cell tower and GPS data and analyzed bottlenecks.

Clays on Mars: More plentiful than expected
A new study co-authored by the Georgia Institute of Technology indicates that clay minerals, rocks that usually form when water is present for long periods of time, cover a larger portion of Mars than previously thought.

Genomic 'hotspots' offer clues to causes of autism, other disorders
An international team, led by researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, has discovered that

Gene expression improves the definition of a breast cancer subtype
The study conducted by the Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology in conjunction with the GEICAM cooperative group and other American and Canadian researchers has led to a change in the definition of hormone-sensitive breast tumors

Doing the math for how songbirds learn to sing
Scientists at Emory University and UC-San Francisco studying how songbirds stay on key have developed a statistical explanation for why some things are harder for the brain to learn than others, building the first mathematical model that uses a bird's previous sensorimotor experience to predict its ability to learn.

Low vitamin D levels in pregnancy associated with lower birth weights, pitt research finds
Women deficient in vitamin D early in their pregnancies are more likely to deliver babies with lower birth weights, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health research reveals.

BGI reports bat genome provides new insights into the evolution of flight and immunity
BGI reports bat genome provides new insights into the evolution of flight and immunity.

PNNL recognized for transferring innovations to the marketplace
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has been recognized for commercializing technologies or processes that can store large amounts of renewable energy until it's needed, fight cancer and detect explosives.

Free search engine connects classrooms with science and technology
An educational search engine funded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) has gone mobile just in time for the holidays with the Dec.

Microevolutionary analysis of Clostridium difficile genomes to investigate transmission
A recent study published in the open access journal Genome Biology, published by BioMed Central, took a genomics approach to assess the incidence of patient-to-patient transmission of C. difficile.

Rebuilding blood vessels through gene therapy
Diagnosed with severe coronary artery disease, a group of patients too ill for or not responding to other treatment options decided to take part in a clinical trial testing angiogenic gene therapy to help rebuild their damaged blood vessels.

Mount Sinai grad student, 25, named to Forbes '30 Under 30' in Science and Healthcare
Jillian Shapiro, a third-year graduate student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, has been named to the second annual Forbes

Cellular patterns of development
For a tiny embryo to grow into an entire fruit fly, mouse or human, the correct genes in each cell must turn on and off in precisely the right sequence.

UGA research offers new targets for stroke treatments
New research from the University of Georgia identifies the mechanisms responsible for regenerating blood vessels in the brain.

2 problems in chemical catalysis solved
The research group of Professor Petri Pihko at the Department of Chemistry and the NanoScience Center of the University of Jyväskylä has solved two acute problems in chemical catalysis.

Transplanted genetically-modified adipose cells offer potential therapy for liver diseases
Mesenchymal stromal cells from adipose tissues were genetically modified to express a bioluminescent marker, and allow researchers to track the cells following injection into the spleens of mice with liver disease.

Science magazine prize goes to evolution class that starts with baby chimp's face
A course module called How We Got Here, which engages students in their own research about the evolution of humans, has been awarded the Science Prize for Inquiry-Based Instruction because of its effectiveness as a teaching tool.

New whole plant therapy shows promise as an effective and economical treatment for malaria
A new study by scientists at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the University of Massachusetts published in the journal PLOS ONE has shown that the powdered dried leaves from the Artemisia annua plant may be a far more effective antimalarial treatment than purified artemisinin.

WCS applauds Dept. of Interior plan balancing conservation and energy development in NPR-A
The Wildlife Conservation Society lauded US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazars announcement of a final management plan for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) that balances wildlife conservation and energy development in the biggest public landscape in the country.

Newborn baby screening for fragile X syndrome
A study into newborn screening for fragile X syndrome demonstrates that testing for mutations in the gene FMR1 can be done on a large scale.

First ever 'atlas' of T cells in human body
By analyzing tissues harvested from organ donors, Columbia University Medical Center researchers have created the first ever

Sibling squabbles can lead to depression, anxiety
Holiday presents will soon be under the tree for millions of adolescents.

The findings between DNMs and autism provides global view of mutability on human diseases
BGI reports the findings between de novo germline mutation and autism, providing global view of mutability on human diseases.

Trio of complex antarctic science projects reach significant technological milestones 'on the ice'
A trio of very large-scale, National Science Foundation-funded Antarctic science projects--investigating scientifically significant subjects as varied as life in extreme ecosystems, the fate of one of the world's largest ice sheets and the nature of abrupt global climate-change events--have recently each reached important technological milestones that will advance cutting-edge research.

Not all gamers are low scorers on friendships, relationships
Not all video game players are destined for lives filled with failing relationships and dwindling friendships, according to Penn State researchers, who say that a lot depends on the role of the game-playing activity in the gamer's life.

New MRI analysis useful in predicting stroke complications caused by clot-busters
Johns Hopkins researchers have developed a new way of looking at standard MRI scans that more accurately measures damage to the blood-brain barrier in stroke victims, a process they hope will lead to safer, more individualized treatment of blood clots in the brain and better outcomes.

Poison for cancer cells
A highly effective poison kills the larvae of the garden chafer when the threadworm Heterorhabditis lays its eggs in it.

Cancer diagnosis later in life poses significant risk to offspring
Relatives of family members diagnosed with cancer are still at risk of the disease even if the diagnosis came at an older age, suggests a paper published on today.

Bloomberg School receives $28 million for family planning advocacy
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has received $28 million in grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to continue and expand the Advance Family Planning advocacy initiative within the Bloomberg School's Bill & Melinda Gates Institute on Population and Reproductive Health.

Death of hemlock trees yields new life for hardwood trees, but at what cost to the ecosystem?
Due to the introduction of exotic pests and pathogens, tree species are being eliminated one by one from forest ecosystems.

Young offenders who work, don't attend school may be more antisocial
Until now, little has been known about the effects of school-year employment for at-risk youth.

Protein kinase Akt identified as arbiter of cancer stem cell fate
The protein kinase Akt is a key regulator of cell growth, proliferation, metabolism, survival, and death.

New meteorite suggests that asteroid surfaces more complex than previously thought
Meteorites that fell from an asteroid impact that lit up the skies over California and Nevada in April are showing scientists just how complex an asteroid surface can be.

Steering stem cells to become 2 different building blocks for new blood vessels
Growing new blood vessels in the lab is a tough challenge, but a Johns Hopkins engineering team has solved a major stumbling block: how to prod stem cells to become two different types of tissue that are needed to build tiny networks of veins and arteries.

Brain imaging insight into cannabis as a pain killer
The pain relief offered by cannabis varies greatly between individuals, a brain imaging study carried out at the University of Oxford suggests.

Gift misgivings? Trust your gut
New research shows intuition can help people make fast and effective decisions, particularly in areas where they have expertise in the subject at hand.

U of T Researchers uncover major source of evolutionary differences among species
University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine researchers have uncovered a genetic basis for fundamental differences between humans and other vertebrates that could also help explain why humans are susceptible to diseases not found in other species.

Lifestyle changes linked to better outcomes after peripheral intervention
Heart-healthy habits help patients with PAD, but lifestyle changes and medical therapy are dramatically underused by patients and their doctors.

Evolution of flying bat clue to cancer and viruses
The genes of long-living and virus resistant bats may provide clues to the future treatment and prevention of infectious diseases and cancer in people, researchers have found.

USDA explores using novel genetic labs for faster detection of E. coli
Pina Fratamico is on the quest to find the easiest and fastest way to test for harmful Escherichia coli in ground beef.

Field Museum studies rare meteorite possibly from the outer asteroid belt
A research team discovered that the Sutter's Mill meteorite is a so-called carbonaceous chondrite which is much more diverse in its composition than other meteorites of this type.

Liver mitochondria improve, increase after chronic alcohol feeding in mice
USC scientists have identified mitochondria plasticity as an important mechanism of how the mouse liver adapts to alcohol and other toxins.

NASA sees Cyclone Evan blown apart by wind shear
Cyclone Evan is no more than a remnant low pressure area in the South Pacific Ocean now.

Royal Holloway consortium wins funding to make cloud computing more secure
Royal Holloway university, as a member of a consortium led by technology company Thinking Safe Limited and including design company Wax RDC, has won funding from the Technology Strategy Board's 'Innovating in the Cloud' competition, for a project to make information storage more secure for people using cloud computing. 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