Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 08, 2013
Study finds flame retardant pollutants at far-flung locations
Chemicals used as flame retardants are present as environmental pollutants at locations around the globe, including remote sites in Indonesia, Nepal and Tasmania, according to a study by researchers from the Indiana University.

Genetic matchmaking saves endangered frogs
As researchers from the Smithsonian's Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project race to save frogs from a devastating disease by breeding them in captivity, a genetic test averts mating mix-ups.

Space sailing soon: A 1-kilometer-long electric sail tether was produced
The electric sail, invented by Dr. Pekka Janhunen at the Finnish Kumpula Space Centre in 2006, produces propulsion power for a spacecraft by utilizing solar wind.

Scientists peer into a brown dwarf, find stormy atmosphere
Pointing the Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes simultaneously at a brown dwarf, a University of Arizona-led team of astronomers has obtained detailed images of the stormy atmosphere that enshrouds these strange objects, which are not quite planets and not quite stars.

Cluster mission indicates turbulent eddies may warm the solar wind
The sun ejects a continuous flow of electrically charged particles and magnetic fields in the form of the solar wind -- and this wind is hotter than it should be.

Stem cell materials could boost research into key diseases
Stem cell manufacturing for drug screening and treatments for diseases such as Huntington's and Parkinson's could be boosted by a new method of generating stem cells, a study suggests.

Iowa State computer, electrical engineers working to help biologists cope with big data
Iowa State computer and electrical engineers are developing computing tools to help biologists analyze all the data produced by today's research instruments.

Triple mix of blood pressure drugs and painkillers linked to kidney problems
Patients who take a triple combination of blood pressure drugs and common painkillers are at an increased risk of serious kidney problems, especially at the start of treatment, finds a study published on today.

Award-winning PV cell pushes efficiency higher
It takes outside-the-box thinking to outsmart the solar spectrum and set a world record for solar cell efficiency.

NREL to help convert methane to liquid diesel
The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory will help develop microbes that convert methane found in natural gas into liquid diesel fuel, a novel approach that if successful could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower dependence on foreign oil.

Weight counseling decreases despite rise in obesity
While the number of overweight and obese Americans has increased, the amount of weight counseling offered by primary care physicians has decreased -- especially for patients with high blood pressure and diabetes -- according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

First study of Oregon's Hmong reveals surprising influences on cancer screenings
Cervical cancer rates for Hmong women are among the highest in the nation, yet past research has shown that cervical and breast cancer screening rates for this population are low -- in part because of the Hmong's strong patriarchal culture.

Gift enables Brown to establish healthy aging initiative
Proceeds from Brown's share of a building given by the Irene Diamond Fund of New York will support research and teaching aimed at improving health care for the rapidly aging population of Rhode Island and the nation.

Concentrated solar power with thermal energy storage can help utilities' bottom line, study shows
The storage capacity of concentrating solar power can add significant value to a utility company's optimal mix of energy sources, a new report by the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory suggests.

Obesity drops among children enrolled in NY state WIC nutrition program
New York children participating in a federal nutrition program had healthier eating behaviors and lower rates of obesity two years after improvements to the program were undertaken, according to a study published online today in Obesity, the official journal of the Obesity Society.

Parasitic worms may help treat diseases associated with obesity
On the list of undesirable medical conditions, a parasitic worm infection surely ranks fairly high.

Synthetic 'poop' can cure C. difficile infection, study finds
A synthetic

Study finds Jurassic ecosystems were similar to modern: Animals flourish among lush plants
In modern ecosystems, animals flourish amid lush vegetation. That was true 150 million years ago too, says a new study by paleontologist Timothy Myers, Southern Methodist University, Dallas.

First 'bone' of the Milky Way identified
Our Milky Way is a spiral galaxy -- a pinwheel-shaped collection of stars, gas and dust.

Pythons, lionfish and now willow invade Florida's waterways
Foreign invaders such as pythons and lionfish are not the only threats to Florida's natural habitat.

Females tagged in wasp mating game
The flick of an antenna may be how a male wasp lays claim to his harem, according to new research at Simon Fraser University.

Testing Einstein's E=mc2 in outer space
UA physicist Andrei Lebed has stirred the physics community with an intriguing idea yet to be tested experimentally: The world's most iconic equation, Albert Einstein's E=mc2, may be correct or not depending on where you are in space.

Post-operative intravenous acetaminophen may help reduce use of morphine in infants
Among infants undergoing major surgery, postoperative use of intermittent intravenous paracetamol (acetaminophen) for the management of pain resulted in a lower cumulative morphine dose over 48 hours.

BMJ raises concerns over the effectiveness of a costly and invasive procedure for melanoma
A special report published by the BMJ today finds that thousands of melanoma patients around the world are undergoing an expensive and invasive procedure called sentinel node biopsy, despite a lack of clear evidence and concerns that it may do more harm than good.

Counting the twists in a helical light beam
Applied physicists at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have created a new device that has the potential to add capacity to future optical communications networks.

Bottom-up approach provides first characterization of pyroelectric nanomaterials
By taking a

Asteroid belt found around Vega
A University of Arizona-led team of astronomers has discovered inner asteroid belts and outer comet-filled belts similar to the arrangement found in our solar system around nearby stars Vega and Fomalhaut.

New marker of drug response may speed pace of lung cancer prevention trials
Testing medicines to prevent lung cancer requires treating many thousands of high-risk individuals and then waiting five, 10 or 15 years to discover which of them develop cancer and which, if any, experience survival benefit from the treatment.

Hold the diet soda? Sweetened drinks linked to depression, coffee tied to lower risk
New research suggests that drinking sweetened beverages, especially diet drinks, is associated with an increased risk of depression in adults while drinking coffee was tied to a slightly lower risk.

NAI Fellows Robert Langer, Leroy Hood and Member James Wynne receive US National Medals
MIT professor Robert Langer and IBM inventor James Wynne will receive the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, and Leroy Hood of the Institute for Systems Biology will receive the National Medal of Science early this year from President Obama.

Simulated Mars mission reveals body's sodium rhythms
In the Jan. 8 issue of Cell Metabolism, Vanderbilt clinical pharmacology Jens Titze, M.D., and his colleagues report that -- in contrast to the prevailing dogma -- sodium levels fluctuate rhythmically with seven-day and monthly cycles.

Genes and obesity: Fast food isn't only culprit in expanding waistlines -- DNA is also to blame
Researchers at UCLA say it's not just what you eat that makes those pants tighter -- it's also genetics.

Powerful enzymes create ethanol from agricultural harvest waste
The mainly EU-funded DISCO project coordinated by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed powerful enzymes, which accelerate plant biomass conversion into sugars and further into products such as bioethanol.

Inside DayGlo: A video tour of the world's most colorful factory
A new American Chemical Society video provides a behind-the-scenes-look at the DayGlo Color Corp. factory, producer of the fluorescent paints that light up traffic cones, black light posters, hula-hoops and other products.

Indication of considerable added benefit of vemurafenib in advanced melanoma
Vemurafenib has been approved since February 2012 for the treatment of certain groups of adults with advanced melanoma.

Biophysical Society announces winners of 2013 Minority Affairs Committee travel awards
The Biophysical Society has announced the winner of its Minority Affairs Committee Travel Awards to attend the Biophysical Society's 57th Annual Meeting at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Feb.

'Tricorder' invention could put medical diagnosis and terrorism prevention in the palm of the hand
The hand-held scanners, or tricorders, of the Star Trek movies and television series are one step closer to reality now that a University of Missouri engineering team has invented a compact source of X-rays and other forms of radiation.

First oral drug for spinal cord injury improves movement in mice, study shows
An experimental oral drug given to mice after a spinal cord injury was effective at improving limb movement after the injury, a new study shows.

EARTH: Superquakes, supercycles, and global earthquake clustering
The size and type of earthquakes a given fault system may produce remain poorly understood for most major fault systems.

Surprising teaching tool in K-12 science education -- Zebrafish research
The world's leading zebrafish researchers contribute to the community's active global efforts to promote science education.

Rice University discovers that graphene oxide soaks up radioactive waste
Graphene oxide has a remarkable ability to quickly remove radioactive material from contaminated water, researchers at Rice University and Lomonosov Moscow State University have found.

Cancer screening unlikely to benefit patients with a short life expectancy
Breast and colorectal cancer screening should be targeted towards patients with a life expectancy greater than 10 years: for any shorter life expectancy the harms are likely to outweigh the benefits, concludes a study published on today.

U-M sibling study discovers genetic region linked to control of key blood-clotting protein
In 2006, the lab of Dr. David Ginsburg at the Life Sciences Institute put a call out for siblings attending the University of Michigan to donate blood for a study of blood-clotting disorders.

Researchers identify new target for common heart condition
Researchers have found new evidence that metabolic stress can increase the onset of atrial arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation, a common heart condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate.

New American Chemical Society video series: Conversations with Celebrated Scientists
The American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, today launched a new video series that will feature noted scientists discussing the status of knowledge in their fields, their own research, and its impacts and potential impacts on society.

Fussy babies spend more time in front of the TV
Moms, especially those who are obese, are more likely to use TV to entertain and soothe infants who are more fussy and active, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Researchers try new approach for simulating supernovas
Researchers from the University of Texas at Arlington, along with colleagues from Los Alamos National Laboratory and Arizona State University, are trying to bridge the gap between studies of supernova blasts and the remnants they leave behind.

PNAS: Shareholder responsibility could spur shift to sustainable energy
Allowing shareholders to be held liable for the damages that companies cause to the environment, people could help transform the world's energy system towards sustainability, according to new research published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Nursing gerbils unravel benefit of multiple mothers in collective mammals
In mammals such as rodents that raise their young as a group, infants will nurse from their mother as well as other females.

Mass. Eye and Ear ophthalmologist receives Senior Scientific Investigator Award
Reza Dana of Mass. Eye and Ear/Harvard Medical School was awarded the Research to Prevent Blindness Senior Scientific Investigator Award in the amount of $150,000 to support research into the causes, treatment and prevention of blinding diseases.

NASA watches a slow-moving Tropical Depression Sonamu
Tropical Depression Sonamu has been consistently slow moving over the last couple of days, and that has not changed.

Battle of the sexes: Who wins (or loses) in ACL ruptures?
Female athletes are three times more likely to suffer from anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) ruptures, one of the most common knee injuries, compared to male athletes.

Berkeley-Haas finance professor Ulrike Malmendier receives 2013 Fischer Black Prize
Berkeley-Haas Berkeley-Haas Finance Professor Ulrike Malmendier has been awarded the 2013 Fischer Black Prize from the American Finance Association, which honors the top finance scholar under the age of 40 years old.

Cheating slime mold gets the upper hand
A 'cheater' mutation in Dictyostelium discoideum, a free living slime mold able to co-operate as social organism when food is scarce, allows the cheater strain to exploit its social partner, finds a new study published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology.

Biophysical Society announces winners of 2013 Education Committee travel awards
The Biophysical Society has announced the winners of its Education Committee travel award to attend the Biophysical Society's 57th Annual Meeting at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Feb.

Postpartum depression prevalent in under-developed countries, could impact baby health and mortality
Efforts to reduce child mortality and improve infant health in less-developed countries must address the mental health of new moms.

'Universal' personality traits may not be universal after all
For decades, consensus among psychologists has held that a group of five personality traits -- or slight variations of these five -- are a universal feature of human psychology.

Intensive training for aphasia: Even older patients can improve
Older adults who have suffered from aphasia for a long time can nevertheless improve their language function and maintain these improvements in the long term.

Space-simulation study reveals sodium rhythms in the body
A new study in humans published by Cell Press on Jan.

National Academy of Sciences honors geneticist and biologist Sue Biggins
Sue Biggins, Ph.D., a geneticist and biologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, has received the National Academy of Sciences Award in Molecular Biology.

New book connects the human community to its cosmic roots
Evolutionary biologist Neil Shubin, Ph.D., connects astronomical events to the human species in his new book,

Study documents failure rate of antibiotic treatment for gonorrhea
In an examination of the effectiveness of cefixime, the only oral cephalosporin antimicrobial recommended for treatment of Neisseria gonorrhoeae (gonorrhea) infections, researchers found a clinical treatment failure rate of nearly 7 percent for patients treated at a clinic in Toronto.

Wildlife monitoring cameras click jaguar and ocelot photos
Automated trail cameras set up by a University of Arizona research team have snapped pictures of a male jaguar and a male ocelot roaming the rugged Southern Arizona landscape.

History's impostors inspire modern bureaucracy
In Renaissance Imposters and Proofs of Identity, Tel Aviv University's Professor Miriam Eliav-Feldon explains that the battle between frauds and those who try to thwart them has been constant from the beginning of humanity -- and the battle is still going strong.

Mayo Clinic: 2-drug combination may slow deadly thyroid cancer
A combination of the drugs pazopanib and paclitaxel shows promise in slowing anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC), according to a Mayo Clinic-led study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Biophysical Society announces winners of 2013 international travel awards
The Biophysical Society has announced the winners of its international travel grants to attend the Biophysical Society's 57th Annual Meeting at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Feb.

Reduction in air pollution from wood stoves associated with significantly reduced risk of death
Male deaths from all-causes, but particularly cardiovascular and respiratory disease, could be significantly reduced with a decrease in biomass smoke (smoke produced by domestic cooking and heating and woodland fires), a paper published today on suggests.

SSR 2013 Annual Meeting: Call for abstracts
The Society for the Study of Reproduction invites you to submit an abstract for presentation at the 46th SSR Annual Meeting to be held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, July 22-26, 2013.

NASA sees Tropical Cyclone Narelle form in Southern Indian Ocean
The eighth tropical cyclone to form during the Southern Indian Ocean cyclone season formed from low pressure System 98S and became Tropical Cyclone Narelle.

Brief class on easy-to-miss precancerous polyps ups detection, Mayo study shows
Most people know a colonoscopy requires some preparation by the patient.

F1000Research, the first Open Science publisher, launches following a successful beta testing phase
F1000Research comes out of beta today, launching on a new publishing platform.

Nobel laureate James Watson publishes novel hypothesis on curing late-stage cancers
In a new paper he regards

Chemists devise inexpensive, benchtop method for marking and selecting cells
Chemists at the Scripps Research Institute have found an easier way to perform one of the most fundamental tasks in molecular biology.

Study shows cognitive benefit of lifelong bilingualism
Seniors who have spoken two languages since childhood are faster than single-language speakers at switching from one task to another, according to a study published in the Jan.

Lung cancer patients live longer if they use beta-blockers while receiving radiotherapy
Patients with non-small-cell lung cancer survive longer if they are taking beta-blockers while receiving radiotherapy, according to a study of 722 patients published in the cancer journal Annals of Oncology.

DNA prefers to dive head first into nanopores
A new study from Brown University researchers finds that DNA strands have a natural tendency to be pulled through nanopores headfirst.

New company applies regenerative medicine to corneal transplantation
Ocular Systems Inc., Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and the North Carolina Eye Bank have formed a new company based on a promising new technology aimed at engineering replacement corneas in the lab for transplantation.

New research may explain why obese people have higher rates of asthma
A new study finds that leptin may the likely culprit of high rates of asthma seen in obese people.

Earth-size planets common in galaxy
Last year, astronomers were excited to discover that the number of exoplanets increases towards smaller sizes, which suggests that there are many Earth-size planets in the galaxy.

Teens susceptible to hepatitis B infection despite vaccination as infants
New research reveals that a significant number of adolescents lose their protection from hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, despite having received a complete vaccination series as infants.

Biophysical Society announces winners of 2013 CPOW travel awards
The Biophysical Society has announced the winners of its second annual CPOW travel awards to attend the Biophysical Society's 57th Annual Meeting at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Feb.

National Academy of Inventors inaugural conference highlights innovative technologies
The current special issue of

Most physicians do not meet Medicare quality reporting requirements
A new Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute study shows that fewer than one-in-five healthcare providers meet Medicare Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) requirements.

Unlike we thought for 100 years: Molds are able to reproduce sexually
For over 100 years, it was assumed that the penicillin-producing mold fungus Penicillium chrysogenum only reproduced asexually through spores.

Cruise Control sets runners on right 'note'
A new app based on technology designed in Simon Fraser University's Locomotion Lab is helping runners to more effectively -- and enjoyably -- reach and maintain their pace or heart rate goals.

New biochip technology uses tiny whirlpools to corral microbes
Researchers have demonstrated a new technology that combines a laser and electric fields to create tiny centrifuge-like whirlpools to separate particles and microbes by size, a potential lab-on-a-chip system for medicine and research.

Biophysical Society announces 2013 New and Notable Symposium speakers
The Biophysical Society has announced the speakers for the New and Notable Symposium at the Society's 57th Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, Pa.

Scientists mimic fireflies to make brighter LEDs
The nighttime twinkling of fireflies has inspired scientists to modify a light-emitting diode (LED) so it is more than one and a half times as efficient as the original.

Global warming beneficial to ratsnakes
Speculation about how animals will respond to climate change due to global warming led University of Illinois researcher Patrick Weatherhead and his students to conduct a study of ratsnakes at three different latitudes -- Ontario, Illinois, and Texas.

NYU's Strauss awarded NIH grant for intra-oral diabetes screening
This R15 grant builds on Strauss' earlier successful work assessing the accuracy, acceptability, feasibility, and consequences of using oral blood to screen patients with periodontal disease for diabetes in periodontal practices.

Vitamin D supplementation does not reduce knee pain, cartilage loss in patients with osteoarthritis
In a two-year randomized trial, patients with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis who received vitamin D supplementation did not have a significant difference in knee pain or cartilage volume loss compared to patients who received placebo.

NASA's Hubble reveals rogue planetary orbit for Fomalhaut B
Newly released NASA Hubble Space Telescope images of a vast debris disk encircling the nearby star Fomalhaut and a mysterious planet circling it may provide forensic evidence of a titanic planetary disruption in the system. 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