Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 12, 2013
UCSF-Safeway pharmacy alliance aims to help customers quit smoking
The UCSF School of Pharmacy has partnered with Safeway Inc.

Parents' praise predicts attitudes toward challenge 5 years later
Toddlers whose parents praised their efforts more than they praised them as individuals had a more positive approach to challenges five years later.

Study identifies factors associated with eradication of bacteria linked to gastric cancer
In an analysis of the results of interventions to eradicate the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (a risk factor for gastric cancer) in seven diverse community populations in Latin America, researchers found that geographic site, demographic factors, adherence to initial therapy and infection recurrence may be as important as the choice of antibiotic regimen in H pylori eradication interventions, according to a study appearing in the Feb.

Marketing technique: Activating gender stereotypes just to knock 'em down
A new study by USC Marshall Professor Valerie Folkes and Ohio State University Professor Shashi Matta looks at the issue of product perception of consumers through the lens of gender stereotypes.

New world record efficiency for thin film silicon solar cells
EPFL's Institute of Microengineering has reached a remarkable 10.7 percent efficiency single-junction microcrystalline silicon solar cell, clearly surpassing the previous world record of 10.1 percent held by the Japanese company Kaneka Corporation since 1998.

UTHealth: Alcohol consumption may be in response to smoking cessation
New findings by researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health may help identify situations in which smokers who are trying to quit are at a higher risk of relapse.

Low-arsenic rice discovered in Bangladesh could have major health benefits
Millions of people worldwide are regularly exposed to arsenic through drinking water and eating rice grown in soil and water containing high amounts of arsenic.

LSUHSC research finds protein that prevents light-induced retinal degeneration
Research led by Minghao Jin, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Neuroscience at the LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans Neuroscience Center of Excellence, has found a protein that protects retinal photoreceptor cells from degeneration caused by light damage.

A new 'virtual moderator' helps reach consensus in troubled negotiations
Researchers at the University of Granada and the Abo Akademi in Finland have designed a new fuzzy ontology-based system to help making decisions in our daily lives.

HIPPO global-scale air chemistry dataset now available
Data from the HIAPER Pole-to-Pole Observations study of greenhouse gases and aerosols are now available to the atmospheric research community and the public.

Birth order linked to increased risk of diabetes, metabolic disorders
Long a source of sibling rivalry, birth order may raise the risk of first-born children developing diabetes or high blood pressure, according to a recent study accepted for publication in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Name-brand or generic? Your political ideology might influence your choice
Conservatives and liberals don't just differ when it comes to politics, they may also make different purchases at the grocery store, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Southwest regional warming likely cause of pinyon pine cone decline, says CU study
Creeping climate change in the Southwest appears to be having a negative effect on pinyon pine reproduction, a finding with implications for wildlife species sharing the same woodland ecosystems, says a University of Colorado Boulder-led study.

Building a biochemistry lab on a chip
Miniaturized laboratory-on-chip systems promise rapid, sensitive, and multiplexed detection of biological samples for medical diagnostics, drug discovery, and high-throughput screening.

NASA Goddard team to participate in dark energy mission
The European Space Agency has selected three NASA-nominated science teams to participate in their planned Euclid mission, including one led by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

New study examines victims and cyberstalking
Victims of cyberstalking take more self-protective measures, pay higher out-of-pocket costs to combat the problem and experience greater fear over time than traditional stalking victims, said Matt Nobles of Sam Houston State University.

Cheap, strong lithium-ion battery developed at USC
Researchers at USC have developed a new lithium-ion battery design that uses porous silicon nanoparticles in place of the traditional graphite anodes to provide superior performance.

Youths with autism spectrum disorder need help transitioning to adult health care
Health care transition (HCT) services help young people with special health care needs such as asthma or diabetes move from pediatric to adult health care.

Diclofenac used and recommended globally, despite cardiovascular risks
A study in this week's PLOS Medicine finds that the painkiller diclofenac (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) in the same class as aspirin) is the most commonly used NSAID in the 15 countries studied and is included in the essential medicines lists of 74 low-, middle- and high-income countries, despite its known tendency to cause heart attacks and strokes in vulnerable patients.

Depression risk among women in the military deployed after childbirth
The potential for an increased risk of depression among new mothers who deploy and are exposed to combat experience is presented in a study published in Journal of Women's Health.

Field experiment finds significant electoral fraud in Moscow
A large-scale field experiment conducted during the December 2011 parliamentary elections in Russia suggests that fraud had a significant impact on the results.

Early music lessons boost brain development
A study published last month in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that musical training before the age of seven has a significant effect on the development of the brain, showing that those who began early had stronger connections between motor regions -- the parts of the brain that help you plan and carry out movements.

Chick magnet? It's all about what you eat
Chicks that stock up on their five-a-day outshine their love rivals in later life, a new study shows.

Nature Methods study: Using light to control cell clustering
A new study from engineers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of California, Berkeley, pairs light and genetics to give researchers a powerful new tool for manipulating cells.

Cardiovascular risk may remain for treated Cushing's disease patients
Even after successful treatment, patients with Cushing's disease who were older when diagnosed or had prolonged exposure to excess cortisol face a greater risk of dying or developing cardiovascular disease, according to a recent study accepted for publication in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

A system that improves the precision of GPS in cities by 90 percent
Researchers at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid have developed a new system which improves the ability of a GPS to determine a vehicle's position as compared to that of conventional GPS devices by up to 90 percent, and which can be installed in any vehicle at a very low cost.

Helping or hovering? A parent's dilemma
When is it time for parents to back away? A new study shows that college students with overcontrolling parents are more likely to be depressed and less satisfied with their lives.

Some autism behaviors linked to altered gene
Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified a genetic mutation that may underlie common behaviors seen in some people with autism, such as difficulty communicating and resistance to change.

Romantic delusions allow online dating scams to flourish
As international criminal gangs increasingly target online dating and social networking sites, as a means of extorting money from unwary victims, research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council suggests that new strategies are needed for tackling the crime and supporting its victims.

PeerJ publishes its first articles
PeerJ, a new open-access academic journal publisher founded on the principles of affordability, innovation, and open access, published its first 30 articles today.

Teaching teens that people can change reduces aggression in school
In eight studies involving more than 1,600 diverse 8th-10th grade students, researchers show that teenagers who believe people can't change react more aggressively to a peer conflict than those who think people can change.

Scopolamine: An old drug with new psychiatric applications
Scopolamine is an anticholinergic drug with many uses. For example, it prevents nausea, vomiting, and motion sickness.

Crew rotation and passenger connections spread flight delays
A study led by researchers of the Spanish National Research Council and the University of the Balearic Islands asserts that crew rotation and passengers connections systematically spread flight delays due to a domino effect.

Modern growing methods may be culprit of 'coffee rust' fungal outbreak
A shift away from traditional coffee-growing techniques may be increasing the severity of an outbreak of 'coffee rust' fungus that has swept through plantations in Central America and Mexico, according to a University of Michigan ecologist who studies the disease.

Dr. Anurag Agrawal to give Founders' Memorial lecture at Entomology 2013
Dr. Anurag Agrawal, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology with a joint appointment in the Department of Entomology at Cornell University, has been selected to deliver the Founders' Memorial Award lecture at Entomology 2013, the 61st Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America to be held in Austin, Texas, Nov.

Novel protein may help detect Lou Gehrig's disease and dementia, Mayo Clinic finds
Researchers at Mayo Clinic have discovered an abnormal protein that accumulates in the brains of many patients affected with two common neurodegenerative disorders -- amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease, and frontotemporal dementia.

Size of lunch dictates force of crunch
Even in the same animal, not all bites are the same.

Can therapy dogs be beneficial for children with autism spectrum disorder?
A critical review of several published studies evaluating the potential for therapy or assistance dogs to help children with ASD overcome some of these challenges is published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

'Get off my lawn:' Song sparrows escalate territorial threats - with video
Territorial song sparrows use increasingly threatening signals to ward off trespassing rivals.

Detecting cocaine 'naturally'
Since the beginning of time, living organisms have developed ingenious mechanisms to monitor their environment.

Ancient insects shed light on biodiversity
Simon Fraser University evolutionary biologists Bruce Archibald and Rolf Mathewes, and Brandon University biologist David Greenwood, have discovered that modern tropical mountains' diversity patterns extended up into Canada about 50 million years ago.

Platelet-rich plasma treatment shows potential for knee osteoarthritis
A study by researchers from Hospital for Special Surgery has shown that platelet-rich plasma holds great promise for treating patients with knee osteoarthritis.

Study examines hospital readmission and mortality rates for Medicare patients
In a study that included data on nearly 3 million hospital admissions for Medicare beneficiaries with heart attack, pneumonia or heart failure, researchers failed to find evidence that a hospital's performance on the measure for 30-day mortality rates was strongly associated with performance on 30-day readmission rates, findings that may lessen concerns that hospitals with lower mortality rates will have higher readmission rates, according to a study appearing in the Feb.

Clinical trial looks to improve pancreatic cancer survival rates
Researchers at Georgia Regents University Cancer Center are investigating a new avenue of treatment to help boost poor pancreatic cancer survival rates.

Research from the 2013 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium highlights new insights on high-risk prostate cancer prevalence and treatment, compares benefit of surveillance and surgery for management of small kidney tumors
Research on promising new therapies and data on the relative benefits of established treatments for genitourinary cancers were released today, in advance of the fourth annual Genitourinary Cancers Symposium, being held Feb.

Alcohol abusers' depression often related to drinking
For problem drinkers, bouts of depressive symptoms are often the direct result of their heavy alcohol intake, according to a study in the March issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Molecular master switch for pancreatic cancer identified, potential predictor of treatment outcome
A recently described master regulator protein may explain the development of aberrant cell growth in the pancreas spurred by inflammation.

Kids teach parents to respect the environment
A child can directly influence the attitude and behavior of their parents towards the environment without them even knowing it.

Study shows long-term success rates for eradication of Barrett's esophagus after endoluminal therapies
A new study from researchers at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania reports that endoluminal (endoscopic) therapies, combining resection and ablation techniques, for patients with Barrett's esophagus and high-grade dysplasia or early mucosal cancer have a high success rate, with durable results and a low risk of complications.

New material promises better solar cells
A layer cake pretty much tastes like a combination of its individual layers.

UCI's Gavin Herbert Eye Institute receives $3 million for retinal degeneration research
The Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, which is part of UC Irvine Health, has been awarded a three million dollar grant from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation for fellowships and instruments that advance research to prevent blindness caused by such diseases as age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa.

Neuroprosthesis gives rats the ability to 'touch' infrared light
Researchers have given rats the ability to

NASA sees Cyclone Gino wind up to wind down later
NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Cyclone Gino as the storm continues to wind up in the southern Indian Ocean, consolidating and strengthening.

ESC responds to EU Clinical trials directive revisions
The European Society of Cardiology calls for the role of Reporting Member States to be extended to cover

Discovering cell surface proteins' behavior
A Simon Fraser University chemist is the lead author on a new paper that advances scientific understanding of the structure and function of glycoproteins, in particular the number and positioning of sugars on them.

Nathan Shotwell to receive the Edward C. Roy, Jr. Award for Excellence in K-8 Earth Science Teaching
Nathan Shotwell, a teacher at Holman Middle School in Glen Allen, Virginia, has been named the 2013 recipient of the Edward C.

UTSA engineering dean C. Mauli Agrawal receives award from Society for Biomaterials
C. Mauli Agrawal, David and Jennifer Spencer Distinguished Chair for the Dean of Engineering and Peter Flawn Professor in Biomedical Engineering at The University of Texas at San Antonio, has been selected as the sole recipient of the Society for Biomaterials (SFB) 2013 Award for Service.

UCSB study of cocaine addiction reveals targets for treatment
Scientists at UC Santa Barbara are researching cocaine addiction, part of a widespread problem, which, along with other addictions, costs billions of dollars in damage to individuals, families, and society.

Identification of abnormal protein may help diagnose, treat ALS and frontotemporal dementia
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease, and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are devastating neurodegenerative diseases with no effective treatment.

NASA's LRO featured in Journal of Geophysical Research Planets special edition
Scientific observations made by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission are the subject of the latest special edition volume of Journal of Geophysical Research Planets, a scientific peer-reviewed journal.

Major clinical trial finds no link between genetic risk factors and 2 top wet AMD treatments
New findings from a landmark clinical trial show that although certain gene variants may predict whether a person will develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD), these genes do not predict patients' responses to Lucentis™ and Avastin™, two medications widely used to treat

Model aims to help companies make products we actually want
Researchers have developed a model that will, hopefully, help companies develop innovative products that people actually want to use.

NASA provides satellite views of nor'easter lifespan
NASA and NOAA satellites have provided animations and images of the coupling of two low pressure areas that created the now historic winter-time nor'easter that brought more than two feet of snow to portions of the New England states on Feb.

International biodiversity data symposium to mark the kickoff of the EU BON project
The International Symposium

Anti-Muellerian hormone predicts IVF success
Women with a high concentration of anti-Muellerian hormone stand a better chance of giving birth after in vitro fertilization, according to a recent study accepted for publication in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Cities can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent, says U of T researcher
Cities can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by implementing aggressive but practical policy changes, says a new study by University of Toronto Civil Engineering Professor Chris Kennedy and World Bank climate change specialist Lorraine Sugar, one of Kennedy's former students.

New study finds neither HFCS nor table sugar increases liver fat under 'real world' conditions
A study published today in the Journal of Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism presented compelling data showing the consumption of both high fructose corn syrup and sucrose (table sugar) at levels consistent with average daily consumption do not increase liver fat in humans, a leading cause of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Flu outbreaks modeled by new study of classroom schedules
Classroom rosters combined with human-networking theory may give a clearer picture of just how infectious diseases such as influenza can spread through a closed group of people, and even through populations at large.

Differential parenting found to affect whole family
Parents act differently with different children -- for example, being more positive with one child and more negative with another.

Study shows that problem-solving training helps mothers cope with child's cancer diagnosis
A multi-site clinical trial of BRIGHT Ideas problem-solving training shows durable benefits in mothers of children diagnosed with cancer.

SIB, GeneBio and Quartz Bio unveil a collaboration on MegaClust
The SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, Geneva Bioinformatics SA and Quartz Bio SA today announced the establishment of a long-term collaboration under which they will cooperate in order to develop, use and jointly promote MegaClust, the SIB platform for the analysis of flow cytometry data.

Mainz scientists confirm original tetrahedral model of the molecular structure of water
Researchers at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz have confirmed the original model of the molecular structure of water and have thus made it possible to resolve a long-standing scientific controversy about the structure of liquid water.

African-American, Caucasian women should take identical vitamin D doses
African-American women battling vitamin D deficiencies need the same dose as Caucasian women to treat the condition, according to a recent study accepted for publication in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Stanford scientist uncovers the reproductive workings of a harvester ant dynasty
For the first time, scientists have measured how successfully a queen ant establishes new colonies.

NASA satellites find freshwater losses in Middle East
A new study using data from a pair of gravity-measuring NASA satellites finds that large parts of the arid Middle East region lost freshwater reserves rapidly during the past decade.

Study examines malaria preventive therapy during pregnancy and outcomes for infants in Africa
Among pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa, intermittent preventive therapy for malaria with 3 or more doses of the drug regimen sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine was associated with a higher birth weight and lower risk of low birth weight than the current standard 2-dose regimen, according to a review and meta-analysis of previous studies published in the Feb.

Consumers have few negative reactions to the results of genetic testing for cancer mutations
A 23andMe study of consumers' reactions to genetic testing found that even when the tests revealed high-risk mutations in individuals, those individuals had few negative reactions to the news.

Negative stereotypes about boys hinder their academic achievement
In three studies of primarily White schoolchildren in Britain, researchers investigated the role of gender stereotypes.

Conference on securing the future supply of food: Challenges and opportunities
Securing the future supply of food is a major challenge facing the food industry.

More evidence needed for scale up of mobile device technology in health
Despite the hundreds of pilot studies using mobile health -- also known as 'mHealth'', which describe medical and public health practice supported by mobile devices -- there is insufficient evidence to inform the widespread implementation and scale-up of this technology, according to international researchers writing in this week's PLOS Medicine.

Lung cancer set to overtake breast cancer as the main cause of cancer deaths among European women
Lung cancer is likely to overtake breast cancer as the main cause of cancer death among European women by the middle of this decade, according to new research published in the cancer journal Annals of Oncology.

Stopping cold: USC scientists turn off the ability to feel cold
USC neuroscientists have isolated chills at a cellular level, identifying the sensory network of neurons in the skin that relays the sensation of cold.

Lower autism risk with folic acid supplements in pregnancy
Women who took folic acid supplements in early pregnancy almost halved the risk of having a child with autism.

The Geological Society of America Journal Geology: Dynamic geoscience
New Geology science posted online ahead of print on Feb.

Ice age extinction shaped Australian plant diversity
Researchers have shown that part of Australia's rich plant diversity was wiped out by the ice ages, proving that extinction, instead of evolution, influences biodiversity.

Spotting the invisible cracks in wind turbines
A new approach is available for real-time monitoring of the structural health of wind turbine components during exposure to turbulences.

Explosive breakthrough in research on molecular recognition
Ever wonder how sometimes people still get through security with explosives on their person?

Sex and gender competency essential to medical care
Cut dosages of sleeping medications in women to half the current prescribed level.

Newer, shorter-course antibiotic shows similar effectiveness for treating skin infection
Treatment with a newer antibiotic, tedizolid phosphate, once daily for 6 days was statistically noninferior (no worse than) in efficacy to the antibiotic linezolid twice daily for 10 days for both early (at day 2 to 3) and sustained (at day 11) clinical responses in patients with acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections, according to a study appearing in the Feb.

Risk of cardiovascular death doubled in women with high calcium intake
High intakes of calcium (corresponding to diet and supplements) in women are associated with a higher risk of death from all causes, but cardiovascular disease in particular, compared with women with lower calcium intake, a study published today on suggests.

Flood research shows human habits die hard
New research has come up with ways to quickly assess flood damage to houses while also showing most people didn't intend to make changes to reduce their vulnerability after the devastating 2010-11 floods in Australia.

Folic acid supplements early in pregnancy may reduce child's risk of autism by 40 percent
Prenatal folic acid supplements appear to reduce the risk for autistic spectrum disorders, according to a study published today (Feb.

Young children may go above and beyond when helping adults
Even very young children understand that adults don't always know best.

CVD time bomb set to explode in Gulf region in 10-15 years
With one of the highest rates of obesity in the world, the Gulf region is facing an epidemic of cardiovascular disease.

In some dystonia cases, deep brain therapy benefits may linger after device turned off
Two patients freed from severe to disabling effects of dystonia through deep brain stimulation therapy continued to have symptom relief for months after their devices accidentally were fully or partly turned off, according to a report published online Feb.

Gaps in mental health infrastructure for youth identified in many US communities
Mental health facilities that provide outpatient specialty services for youth are a critical element of the mental health care infrastructure, especially for youth who are uninsured or publically insured.

KAIST develops wireless power transfer technology for high capacity transit
The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and the Korea Railroad Research Institute have developed a wireless power transfer technology that can be applied to high capacity transportation systems such as railways, harbor freight, and airport transportation and logistics.

Whole genome sequencing better at tracing TB outbreaks than standard test
A new form of genetic testing of the bacteria that causes tuberculosis can provide better information on TB transmission and also trace TB outbreaks more accurately than the current standard test, according to a study from Germany published in this week's PLOS Medicine.

Fallout from nuclear testing shows that the Achilles tendon can't heal itself
Notorious among athletes and trainers as career killers, Achilles tendon injuries are among the most devastating.

Emerging cancer drugs may drive bone tumors
Cancer drugs should kill tumors, not encourage their spread. But new evidence suggests that an otherwise promising class of drugs may actually increase the risk of tumors spreading to bone, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Middle East river basin has lost Dead Sea-sized quantity of water
Already strained by water scarcity and political tensions, the arid Middle East along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers is losing critical water reserves at a rapid pace, from Turkey upstream to Syria, Iran and Iraq below.

EU BON: Working towards integrated and comprehensive global biodiversity data
The official Kick-off Meeting of the EU-funded EU BON project marks a considerable move towards biodiversity data collection and integration.

Prenatal folic acid supplementation associated with lower risk of autism
In a study that included approximately 85,000 Norwegian children, maternal use of supplemental folic acid from 4 weeks before to 8 weeks after the start of pregnancy was associated with a lower risk of autistic disorder in children, according to a study appearing in the Feb.

Does race make a difference in monitoring of opioid pain therapy?
Opioids are frequently prescribed for pain management in noncancer patients, but recommended clinical guidelines for monitoring effectiveness and signs of drug abuse are often not implemented.

Opioid prescription is on the increase
More and more opioids are being prescribed for pain relief in Germany.

Scientists advance the art of magic with a study of Penn and Teller's 'cups and balls' illusion
Cognitive brain researchers have studied a magic trick filmed in magician duo Penn & Teller's theater in Las Vegas, to illuminate the neuroscience of illusion. 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