Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 03, 2013
How computers push on the molecules they simulate
Simulations are essential to test theories and explore what's inaccessible to direct experiment.

Dopamine-receptor gene variant linked to human longevity
A variant of a gene associated with active personality traits in humans seems to also be involved with living a longer life, UC Irvine and other researchers have found.

Study: Time pressure enhances thrill of auctions
Shopping is more than the rational exchange of goods against money.

Researchers zero in on cognitive difficulties associated with menopause
The memory problems that many women experience in their 40s and 50s as they approach and go through menopause are both real and appear to be most acute during the early period of post menopause.

A New Year's gift from NASA and Penn State
A large new collection of rare photos taken at wavelengths that are invisible to the human eye and blocked by Earth's atmosphere has been released as a New Year's gift to the people of Earth by NASA and Penn State University.

Carbon in Vesta's craters
Large impacts of asteroids may have transferred carbonaceous material to the protoplanet and the inner solar system.

Mayo Clinic researchers find new molecule to target in pancreatic cancer treatment
Researchers at Mayo Clinic in Florida have identified a new target to improve treatment of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma cancer, which accounts for more than 95 percent of pancreatic cancer cases.

Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania receives Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification
The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania has been recognized by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association as meeting The Joint Commission's standards for Disease-Specific Care Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification, becoming the first center in Philadelphia and among a select few hospitals in the United States to be named as part of an elite group of providers focused on complex stroke care.

Planets abound
Look up at the night sky and you'll see stars, sure.

Japanese team creates cancer-specific killer T cells from induced pluripotent stem cells
Researchers from the RIKEN Research Centre for Allergy and Immunology in Japan report today that they have succeeded for the first time in creating cancer-specific, immune system cells called killer T lymphocytes, from induced pluripotent stem cells.

In epigenomics, location is everything
In a novel use of gene knockout technology, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine tested the same gene inserted into 90 different locations in a yeast chromosome -- and discovered that while the inserted gene never altered its surrounding chromatin landscape, differences in that immediate landscape measurably affected gene activity.

Stanford researchers use stem cells to pinpoint cause of common type of sudden cardiac death
When a young athlete dies unexpectedly on the basketball court or the football field, it's both shocking and tragic.

Your brain on Big Bird
Using brain scans of children and adults watching Sesame Street, cognitive scientists are learning how children's brains change as they develop intellectual abilities like reading and math.

Big brains are pricey, guppy study shows
Bigger brains can make animals, well, brainier, but that boost in brain size and ability comes at a price.

Desert Research Institute scientist selected to help guide next USGS, NASA Landsat Mission
The US Geological Survey has named Justin Huntington, Desert Research Institute assistant research professor, to the National Science Team supporting the new Landsat Data Continuity Mission Satellite, scheduled to launch in Feb. from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Virtual patient may help future doctors prevent suicide
A virtual patient named Denise may help future physicians feel more comfortable and capable assessing suicide risk, according to an American Foundation for Suicide Prevention-funded study.

Sorting stem cells
Scientists propose a new way to isolate early stage embryonic stem cells.

Study: Generational changes cause drop in US support for school prayer
The study maps a general decline in advocacy for school prayer starting in the mid-1970s and accelerating as skeptical Baby Boomers became ascendant through the 1980s.

No need for routine repeated CT scans after mild head trauma, reports neurosurgery
When initial computed tomography (CT) scans show bleeding within the brain after mild head injury, decisions about repeated CT scans should be based on the patient's neurological condition, according to a report in the January issue of Neurosurgery, official journal of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

Nanoparticle researcher will inaugurate prestigious 'emerging leaders' lecture series
A noted researcher in nanomedicine -- preventing, diagnosing and treating disease with particles so small that thousands fit across the width of a human hair -- will deliver the inaugural presentation in

Smile: Gingivitis bacteria manipulate your immune system so they can thrive in your gums
A new research report published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology shows how the bacteria known for causing gum disease -- Porphyromonas gingivalis -- manipulates the body's immune system to disable normal processes that would otherwise destroy it.

Quick detection of periodontitis pathogens
Twelve million Germans suffer from periodontitis, an inflammation that can lead to the loss of teeth if left untreated.

Pesticides and Parkinson's: UCLA researchers uncover further proof of a link
UCLA researchers have found a link between Parkinson's disease and the pesticide Benomyl, whose toxicological effects still linger in the environment, 10 years after it was banned by the EPA.

Rethinking bacterial persistence
EPFL scientists used microfluidics to observe the behavior of individual tuberculosis-like bacteria in the presence of antibiotics.

Bering Sea study finds prey density more important to predators than biomass
Marine resource managers often gauge the health of species based on overall biomass, but a new study of predator-prey relationships in the Bering Sea found that it isn't the total number of individuals that predators care about -- it's how densely they are aggregated.

An embryo that is neither male nor female
Is it a girl or a boy? This is the first question parents ask at the birth of an infant.

UC Davis study links low wages with hypertension, especially for women and younger workers
Workers earning the lowest wages have a higher risk of hypertension than workers with the highest wages, according to new research from UC Davis.

NASA sees Tropical Depression Sonamu form near Philippines
The first tropical depression of 2013 formed the western North Pacific Ocean today, and NASA's Terra satellite captured an infrared image of the

Editing the genome with high precision
Researchers at MIT, the Broad Institute and Rockefeller University have developed a new technique for precisely altering the genomes of living cells by adding or deleting genes.

Plvap/PV1 critical to formation of the diaphragms in endothelial cells
Dartmouth scientists have demonstrated the importance of the gene Plvap and the structures it forms in mammalian physiology in a study published in December by the journal Developmental Cell.

Press registration opens for 2013 meeting of world's largest scientific society
Journalists may now apply for press credentials for the American Chemical Society's 245th National Meeting & Exposition.

Study reveals new survival strategy for bacteria exposed to antibiotics
Researchers have uncovered a new way that some bacteria survive when under siege by antibiotics.

Power spintronics: Producing AC voltages by manipulating magnetic fields
The science of spintronics may enable converting a magnetic field into electrical energy.

Coral records suggest that recent El Nino activity rises above noisy background
By examining a set of fossil corals that are as much as 7,000 years old, scientists have dramatically expanded the amount of information available on the El Nino-Southern Oscillation, a Pacific Ocean climate cycle that affects climate worldwide.

Genetics Society of America announces Spring 2013 DeLill Nasser Travel Award recipients
The Genetics Society of America announces the selection of five graduate students and five postdoctoral researchers as recipients of a Spring 2013 DeLill Nasser Award for Professional Development in Genetics.

New rat model for muscle regeneration after trauma-related soft tissue injury
Penetrating soft tissue injuries that may be caused by bullet wounds or motor vehicle accidents, or exposure to explosive devices in military settings, can cause muscle loss resulting in functional disability and cosmetic deformity.

Cholesterol medicine affects energy production in muscles
Up to 75 percent of patients who take statins to treat elevated cholesterol levels may suffer from muscle pain.

Revolutionary techniques could help harness patients' own immune cells to fight disease
Researchers reporting in two separate papers in the Jan. 4 issue of the Cell Press journal Cell Stem Cell used stem cell technology to successfully regenerate patients' immune cells, creating large numbers that were long-lived and could recognize their specified targets: HIV-infected cells in one case and cancer cells in the other.

GW professor discovers new information in the understanding of autism and genetics
Research out of the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveals another piece of the puzzle in a genetic developmental disorder that causes behavioral diseases such as autism.

Liquid jets and bouncing balls combine for surprising results
The physics of a bouncing ball is well understood, but a liquid-filled ball can still surprise scientists.

Markey receives grant to continue Jin Shin Jyutsu program
The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center's Jennifer Bradley has received funding from the Lexington Cancer Foundation to continue the Jin Shin Jyutsu program in 2013.

Scientists discover how deadly skin cancer spreads into other parts of the body
After recently announcing success in eliminating melanoma metastasis in laboratory experiments, scientists at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center have made another important discovery in understanding the process by which the gene mda-9/syntenin contributes to metastasis in melanoma (the spread of skin cancer) and possibly a variety of other cancers.

Scientists pinpoint molecular signals that make some women prone to miscarriage
Scientists have identified molecular signals that control whether embryos are accepted by the womb, and that appear to function abnormally in women who have suffered repeated miscarriages.

New understanding of nerve damage caused by spinal cord injury could improve treatment design
A better understanding of the link between the neurologic damage caused by SCI, spontaneous motor function recovery, and long-term motor deficits would lead to better therapeutic approaches, as discussed in an article in Journal of Neurotrauma.

VTT and Lumichip announce joint LED company investment
Simpler and more cost-effective methods are needed in LED lamp manufacture.

Disinfection caps cut CLABSI cases in half
Central line-associated bloodstream infections dropped by 52 percent when an alcohol-impregnated disinfection cap was used instead of standard scrubbing protocol, according to a new study published in the January issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

Cup color influences the taste of hot chocolate
Two researchers from the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the University of Oxford have proven that hot chocolate tastes better in an orange or cream colored cup than in a white or red one.

Portions of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet are warming twice as fast as previously thought
A new study funded by the National Science Foundation finds that the western part of the massive West Antarctic Ice Sheet is experiencing nearly twice as much warming as previously thought.

New strategies needed to encourage male cancer survivors to consider future fertility
New strategies are needed to encourage men who have banked sperm prior to cancer treatment to engage with ongoing fertility monitoring programs, researchers from the University of Sheffield have found.

Agenda set for upcoming CRF-sponsored conference on stem cell therapy for heart disease
The 8th International Conference on Cell Therapy for Cardiovascular Disease, sponsored by the Cardiovascular Research Foundation will be held Jan.

Sanford-Burnham and Intrexon Corporation establish collaboration to accelerate stem cell research
Under the agreement, Sanford-Burnham will gain access to sophisticated proprietary cellular selection and gene regulation technologies that are not currently on the market, including Intrexon's Laser-Enabled Analysis and Processing instrument and RheoSwitch Therapeutic System®.

'Universal' personality traits don't necessarily apply to isolated indigenous people
Five personality traits widely thought to be universal across cultures might not be, according to a study of an isolated Bolivian society.

UC Riverside mathematicians recognized by American Mathematical Society
John Baez, a professor of mathematics at UC Riverside, and UCR alumnus John Huerta will receive the 2013 Levi L.

Improving DNA amplification from problematic plants
The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a common technique used to amplify, or copy, pieces of DNA.

2 NASA satellites see Cyclone Dumile over La Reunion and Mauritius
NASA's Aqua and Terra satellites captured visible and infrared data on Tropical Cyclone Dumile as it slammed into the islands of La Reunion and Mauritius in the Southern Indian Ocean.

Research reveals how single women shaped the religious culture of colonial Latin America
The discovery reveals how ordinary women forged complex relationships with priests that influenced the spiritual economy of colonial cities.

First meteorite linked to Martian crust
After extensive analyses, researchers have identified a new class of Martian meteorite that likely originated from Mars's crust.

Finding Chicago's food gardens with Google Earth
Urban agriculture is promoted as a strategy for dealing with food insecurity, stimulating economic development, and combating diet-related health problems in cities.

Rare form of active 'jumping genes' found in mammals
Much of the DNA that makes up our genomes can be traced back to strange rogue sequences known as transposable elements, or jumping genes, which are largely idle in mammals.

Steroids that only nature could make on a large scale -- Until now
Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute have achieved a feat in synthetic chemistry by inventing a scalable method to make complex natural compounds known as

Nanoparticles reach new peaks
Rice researchers have found a way to selectively heat diverse nanoparticles in a batch that could advance their medical and industrial use.

Researchers: Online science news needs careful study
A science-inclined audience and wide array of communications tools make the Internet an excellent opportunity for scientists hoping to share their research with the world.

Turning smartphones into secure and versatile keys
It's already possible to open doors using an app -- but we are a long way from seeing widespread acceptance of this in the market.

Unconventional visualization method wins jury prize at media festival
Collaborative work performed by the Remote Data Analysis and Visualization Center and University of Tennessee, Knoxville, artist Evan Meaney that examines the interplay of data, information, and knowledge has won the jury prize for the Distributed Microtopias exhibition at the 15th Annual Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival.

Hebrew University study finds key mechanism in calcium regulation
In a study recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience, Hebrew University of Jerusalem researchers, along with others from Israel and the US, presented their findings of a previously undescribed cellular mechanism which is essential for keeping cellular calcium concentration low. 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