Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 15, 2013
UCI research turns the corner on autism
The Center for Autism Research & Treatment is launching an innovative drug discovery effort uniting multidisciplinary campus scientists in a common purpose: to develop an effective pharmaceutical therapy for the core deficits of autism.

Press registration for Internal Medicine 2013 is now open
Internal Medicine 2013, the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Physicians, is full of story opportunities for health care journalists.

Ornamental fish industry faces increasing problems with antibiotic resistance
The $15 billion ornamental fish industry faces a global problem with antibiotic resistance, a new study concludes, raising concern that treatments for fish diseases may not work when needed - and creating yet another mechanism for exposing humans to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

New path discovered for future generation of glucose-measuring biosensors
CIC bioGUNE researchers have opened a new pathway for the future development of biosensors that enable measuring the glucose in the blood, but which are also believed to be more reliable with other fluids, such as urine.

First in the world - Singapore scientists discover genes responsible for cornea blindness
Scientists at Singapore Eye Research Institute and A*STAR's Genome Institute of Singapore have succeeded in identifying genes for central corneal thickness that may cause potentially blinding eye conditions.

Claims of 'post-racial' society and other denials of racism may reflect ignorance of history
Commonly observed differences in how groups perceive racism may be explained by ignorance about -- and even denial of -- the extent of racism over the course of history, according to a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Comparable patterns of failure between SBRT, lobectomy or pneumonectomy for stage I NSCLC
For patients with medically operable clinical stage I non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), lobectomy or pneumonectomy is the standard approach.

Exon skipping to restore gene expression is promising therapeutic strategy for muscular dystrophy
A novel therapeutic approach called exon skipping involves bypassing a disease-causing mutation in a gene to restore normal gene expression and protein production.

Blood clots and artery blockage more likely during IVF pregnancies
In vitro fertilization is associated with an increased risk of pulmonary embolism (blockage of the main artery of the lung) and venous thromboembolism (blood clots) during the first trimester of pregnancy, a study published today on bmj.com suggests.

A quantum leap in gene therapy of Duchenne muscular dystrophy
For years, scientists have been working to find the key to restoring dystrophin, but they have faced many challenges.

Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program use grows in 2011
In 2011, 13 percent of all American households relied on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- the program formerly known as food stamps -- with nearly 6.2 million more American households using the program now than five years ago, according to new research from the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire.

Childhood trauma leaves its mark on the brain
EPFL scientists find evidence that psychological wounds inflicted when young leave lasting biological traces--and a predisposition toward violence later in life.

Researchers identify ways to improve quality of care measurement from electronic health records
Health care providers and hospitals are being offered up to $27 billion in federal financial incentives to use electronic health records (EHRs) in ways that demonstrably improve the quality of care.

Scientists seek out cancer cells hiding from treatment
Funding to improve leukemia treatment will investigate how cancer cells hide to avoid chemotherapy drugs.

Blood cell researcher wins science academy's 2013 Gottschalk Medal
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute researcher Dr Benjamin Kile has been awarded the Australian Academy of Science's 2013 Gottschalk Medal for a series of major discoveries that have shed new light on blood cell formation and function.

NASA finds 2012 sustained long-term climate warming trend
NASA scientists say 2012 was the ninth warmest of any year since 1880, continuing a long-term trend of rising global temperatures.

When wanting is more important than having: Will that new car really make you happy?
Materialistic consumers may derive more pleasure from desiring products than they do from actually owning them, and are willing to overspend and go into debt because they believe that future purchases will transform their lives, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Are consumers with fewer friends more likely to take financial risks?
Feeling socially isolated causes consumers to pursue riskier but potentially more profitable financial opportunities, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Virtual heart sheds new light on heart defect
A virtual heart, developed at the University of Manchester, is revealing new information about one of the world's most common heart conditions.

NREL launches interactive tool for developing a cleaner energy future
The US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory has created an energy analysis tool to help individuals and educators experiment with future energy use scenarios.

Western University researchers identify new genetic mutation for ALS
Researchers at Western University in London, Canada, have identified a new genetic mutation for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), opening the door to future targeted therapies.

New American Chemical Society podcast: Leaves of carob tree fight food-poisoning bacteria
The latest episode in the American Chemical Society's award-winning Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions podcast series reports that an antibacterial extract from the leaves of the carob tree (the source of a popular chocolate substitute) could fight the microbe responsible for the serious form of food poisoning called listeriosis.

Major step toward an Alzheimer's vaccine
A team of researchers from Université Laval, CHU de Québec, and pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline has discovered a way to stimulate the brain's natural defense mechanisms in people with Alzheimer's disease.

The housing market: Consumers struggle to get the price right
Consumers systematically mispredict both the selling and purchase prices of other consumers due to a lack of cognitive and emotional connection, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Infrared NASA imagery shows sinking air, elongation in Tropical Storm Emang
The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder instrument that flies on NASA's Aqua satellite provides valuable data to tropical cyclone forecasters, and revealed sinking air, a small area of powerful thunderstorms, and a slightly elongated Tropical Storm Emang.

New SMU-North Texas food bank study to analyze causes of hunger in North Texas
Recent studies have examined the role of income and assets in fighting hunger or food insecurity, but have found that household economic resources are not the only factor contributing to food insecurity.

International study: Where there's smoke or smog, there's climate change
In addition to causing smoggy skies and chronic coughs, soot -- or black carbon -- is the number two contributor to global warming.

Chemistry resolves toxic concerns about carbon nanotubes
Safety fears about carbon nanotubes, due to their structural similarity to asbestos, have been alleviated following research showing that reducing their length removes their toxic properties.

Tamoxifen ameliorates symptoms of Duchenne muscular dystrophy
A new study has found that tamoxifen, a well-known breast cancer drug, can counteract some pathologic features in a mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).

App helps catch drunk drivers
Nearly 30 Americans a day die in vehicle crashes that involve drunk drivers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Novel approach to track migration of arctic-breeding avian species
A group of scientists led by Prof. Oliver P. Love try to determine how snow bunting populations are linked in space and time.

Born to lead? Leadership can be an inherited trait, study finds
Genetic differences are significantly associated with the likelihood that people take on managerial responsibilities, according to new research from University College London.

Researcher awarded $5.08 million to study oilseed camelina as biofuel feedstock
A team of researcher were awarded $5.08 million by the US Department of Agriculture to study oilseed camelina as biofuel feedstock.

Device tosses out unusable PV wafers
Silicon wafers destined to become photovoltaic cells can take a bruising through assembly lines, as they are oxidized, annealed, purified, diffused, etched, and layered to reach their destinies as efficient converters of the sun's rays into useful electricity.

Cutting down on sugar has a small but significant effect on body weight
Reducing sugar intake has a small but significant effect on body weight in adults, finds a paper published on bmj.com today.

Migraine with aura may lead to heart attack, blood clots for women
Women who have migraines with aura, which are often visual disturbances such as flashing lights, may be more likely to have problems with their heart and blood vessels, and those on newer contraceptives may be at higher risk for blood clots, according to two studies released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 65th Annual Meeting in San Diego, March 16-23, 2013.

Youth mentoring linked to many positive effects, new CAMH and Big Brothers Big Sisters study shows
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada are releasing the first results of one of the largest mentoring studies ever conducted.

Chronic disease research awarded funding
The Medical Research Council have awarded the African Partnership for Chronic Disease Research five years funding.

New research shows uncertain benefits after grade 2
The researchers examined Success for All, an instructional approach that is among the most mature and proven school reform models, to identify impact on reading achievement among older elementary students.

New research gives insight into graphene grain boundaries
Making the one-atom thick sheets of carbon known as graphene in a way that could be easily integrated into mass production methods has proven difficult.

Choline supplementation during pregnancy presents a new approach to schizophrenia prevention
Choline, an essential nutrient similar to the B vitamin and found in foods such as liver, muscle meats, fish, nuts and eggs, when given as a dietary supplement in the last two trimesters of pregnancy and in early infancy, is showing a lower rate of physiological schizophrenic risk factors in infants 33 days old.

Quality of instruction trumps language in reading programs for elementary-age ELLs
New research synthesizes studies of English reading outcomes for Spanish-dominant English language learners in elementary schools.

Study documents that some children lose autism diagnosis
Some children who are accurately diagnosed in early childhood with autism lose the symptoms and the diagnosis as they grow older, a study supported by the National Institutes of Health has confirmed.

Parents' financial help linked to lower college GPAs, higher graduation rates
A new study found that college students' GPAs decreased with increased financial support from their parents.

Transmission of tangles in Alzheimer's mice provides more authentic model of tau pathology
By using synthetic fibrils made from pure recombinant protein, Penn researchers provide the first direct and compelling evidence that tau fibrils alone are entirely sufficient to recruit and convert soluble tau within cells into pathological clumps in neurons, followed by transmission of tau pathology to other inter-connected brain regions from a single injection site in an animal model of tau brain disease.

Patients with EGFR exon 20 insertions have poorer prognosis
A recent study published in the February 2013 issue of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer's Journal of Thoracic Oncology, concludes that patients with EGFR exon 20 insertions have similar clinical characteristics to those with common EGFR mutations, but a poorer prognosis.

Don't read my lips! Body language trumps the face for conveying intense emotions
Be it triumph or crushing defeat, exhilaration or agony, body language more accurately conveys intense emotions, according to Princeton University research that challenges the predominance of facial expressions as an indicator of how a person feels.

NIH launches collaborative effort to find biomarkers for Parkinson's
The National Institutes of Health has launched a new initiative to help researchers investigate biomarkers for Parkinson's disease, and to help patients learn about and participate in such studies.

In search of the big questions: Conserving the European Alps
One of the hardest things in science is asking the right questions, particular when the issue under debate is as broad as the conservation of biodiversity.

Low birth weight not associated with asthma risk
A new study published in the January issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology finds low birth weight is not associated with asthma risk in children.

Invading species can extinguish native plants despite recent reports
Ecologists at the University of Toronto and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich have found that, given time, invading exotic plants will likely eliminate native plants growing in the wild despite recent reports to the contrary.

Biocomposites containing peat fiber for making new kinds of biodegradable products
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed methods and product innovations for processing the most rapidly renewable surface layer of peat instead of using it for energy production.

For sports fans, the story -- not the victor -- makes the difference in enjoyment
A new study has concluded that sports fans love to root for a hero and against a villain, but if the game is exciting, they'll enjoy it no matter who wins.

Sustainable agriculture more likely with educated women
The more years of education a woman has, the more likely it is that her household uses sustainable farming practices.

Kaiser Permanente study: Change in PSA levels over time can help predict aggressive prostate cancer
Measurements taken over time of prostate specific antigen, the most commonly used screening test for prostate cancer in men, improve the accuracy of aggressive prostate cancer detection when compared to a single measurement of PSA, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published today in the British Journal of Urology International.

Virginia Tech engineers awarded $800,000 to improve radio spectrum usage
Both the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research are funding the work of Virginia Tech engineering faculty on efficient spectrum sharing on an already crowded wireless array of networks, although each grant addresses different types of problems and different application domains.

NASA satellites see Cyclone Narelle torn apart
NASA's TRMM and Aqua satellites showed how Tropical Cyclone Narelle has fallen far from being a powerful cyclone in the Southern Indian Ocean.

Facebook beats books - and faces - in memory test
If this were a Facebook post, you would remember it - better than a stranger's face or a line from a published book.

Higher quality rating for Medicare Advantage plan linked with increased likelihood of enrollment
In a study that included nearly 1.3 million Medicare beneficiaries who were either first-time enrollees or enrollees switching plans, researchers found a positive association between enrollment and publicly reported Medicare Advantage star ratings reflecting plan quality.

Borderline personality disorder: The "perfect storm" of emotion dysregulation
Originally, the label

Earth Science Week 2013 theme announced: "Mapping Our World"
The American Geosciences Institute is pleased to announce that the theme of Earth Science Week 2013 will be

Fashion blogs: How do ordinary consumers harness social media to become style leaders?
The Internet has given consumers the unprecedented opportunity to reach a mass audience and thereby advance their social position through displays of good taste, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Plumber and spray painter high-risk occupations for asthma
Despite known risks and recommendations for protective equipment, many people are still at risk of getting asthma after exposure to substances at work.

Researchers create flexible, nanoscale 'bed of nails' for possible drug delivery
Researchers at North Carolina State University have come up with a technique to embed needle-like carbon nanofibers in an elastic membrane, creating a flexible

Neiker-Tecnalia selected to modernize the agricultural irrigation system in Ghana and Senegal
The Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development, Neiker-Tecnalia, has been selected to run a project on irrigation efficiency based on new technologies; it will be applied in Ghana and Senegal.

No panaceas for Mexico's violent drug war, but prohibition has failed
While Mexico and the United States have ramped up their efforts to control and perhaps defeat Mexico's increasingly violent drug cartels, the outcome of these efforts remains in doubt and no panaceas are in sight, but prohibition has once again proved to be a failure.

War was central to Europe's first civilization, contrary to popular belief
Research from the University of Sheffield has discovered that the ancient civilization of Crete, known as Minoan, had strong martial traditions, contradicting the commonly held view of Minoans as a peace-loving people.

Facebook posts not easily forgotten
Facebook posts resonate significantly more with human nature than books or even human faces, according to a new study by Laura Mickes and colleagues from the University of California San Diego in the US.

Never forget a Face(book) -- memory for online posts beats faces and books
People's memory for Facebook posts is strikingly stronger than their memory for human faces or sentences from books, according to a new study.

SFU materials and particle science attract government funding
The federal government through one of its research-funding agencies, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, is investing about $8.7 million in new funding in two major national research projects involving Simon Fraser University.

Studies provide new insights into brain-behavior relationships
Approximately half a million individuals suffer strokes in the US each year, and about one in five develops some form of post-stroke aphasia, the partial or total loss of the ability to communicate.

Neon lights up exploding stars
An international team of nuclear astrophysicists has shed new light on the explosive stellar events known as novae.

The muscle response of footballers depends on their position on the field
Football players display different muscle response parameters depending on the position that they hold on the pitch, according to a study conducted by a team of Spanish researchers which has been published in the Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology.

Tracing the impact of amyloid beta in mild cognitive impairment
The amount of amyloid β (Aβ) in the brains of people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is contributing to early memory loss, and increases with severity of symptoms, finds a study in BioMed Central's open access journal Alzheimer's Research & Therapy.

The world's premier cardiovascular congress goes to Amsterdam
Amsterdam, the Netherlands, is preparing for the arrival of more than 30,000 participants for this year's ESC Congress.

ChemCam follows the 'Yellowknife Road' to Martian wet area
Researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory and the French Space Agency have tracked a trail of minerals that point to the prior presence of water at the Curiosity rover site on Mars.

Diabetic fruit flies support buzz about dietary sugar dangers
Regularly consuming sucrose -- the type of sugar found in many sweetened beverages -- increases a person's risk of heart disease.

Global warming may have severe consequences for rare Haleakalā silverswords
While the iconic Haleakala silversword plant made a strong recovery from early 20th-century threats, it has now entered a period of substantial climate-related decline.

EGFR mutation not prognostic factor in non-small cell lung cancer
A recent study published in the February 2013 issue of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer's Journal of Thoracic Oncology, concludes EGFR mutations are not a prognostic factor in surgically resected patients or patients with recurrence treated with conventional therapies.

Lack of protein Sp2 disrupts neuron creation in brain
A protein known as Sp2 is key to the proper creation of neurons from stem cells, according to researchers at North Carolina State University.

Researchers identify genetic mutation for rare cancer
By looking at the entire DNA from this one patient's tumor, researchers have found a genetic anomaly that provides an important clue to improving how a rare type of cancer is diagnosed and treated.

Respectful maternal care to take center stage at Global Maternal Health Conference
Respectful maternal health care will take center stage during a plenary session at this week's Global Maternal Health Conference in Arusha, Tanzania.

Former student's stellar $2 million gift to boost SKA science
A former science student of the University of Western Australia has donated two million dollars to fund a new research position that will help shed light on some of the biggest mysteries in the Universe.

How the protein transport machinery in the chloroplasts of higher plants developed
A research team has studied how the protein transport system of bacteria developed over time to form the system in the chloroplasts of higher plants.

How does family life influence consumer response to television advertising?
Family interaction and everyday activity strongly influence how television advertisements are experienced and interpreted at home, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

ACP recommends Stage 3 Meaningful Use focus on measuring improvements in health outcomes
Stage 3 Meaningful Use measures need to focus more on measuring improvements in patient health outcomes rather being than a large and growing collection of functional measures, the American College of Physicians says in a letter submitted to the Health Information Technology Policy Committee.

Black carbon larger cause of climate change than previously assessed
Black carbon has a much greater (twice the direct) climate impact than reported in previous assessments.
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