Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 16, 2013
Research into carbon storage in Arctic tundra reveals unexpected insight into ecosystem resiliency
When UC Santa Barbara doctoral student Seeta Sistla and her advisor, environmental studies professor Josh Schimel, went north not long ago to study how long-term warming in the Arctic affects carbon storage, they had made certain assumptions.

Mathematicians analyze social divisions using cell phone data
Human society fractures along lines defined by politics, religion, ethnicity, and perhaps most fundamentally, language.

Sanford-Burnham researchers identify target to prevent hardening of arteries
The gene Dkk1 encodes a protein that plays a key role in increasing the population of connective-tissue cells during wound repair, but prolonged Dkk1 signaling in cells lining blood vessels can lead to fibrosis and a stiffening of artery walls.

Massachusetts' health care reform didn't raise hospital use, costs
Health care reform in Massachusetts didn't result in substantially more hospitalizations, longer stays or higher costs.

3-D modeling technology offers groundbreaking solution for engineers
Software developed at the University of Sheffield has the potential to enable engineers to make

Asian lady beetles use biological weapons against their European relatives
Once introduced for biological pest control, Asian lady beetle populations have been increasing uncontrollably.

Risk of death, hospital readmission prolonged after heart attack, heart failure
Heart attack or heart failure patients may have a high risk of death or re-admission for a month or longer after leaving the hospital.

Scientists capture first direct proof of Hofstadter butterfly effect
A team of researchers from several universities - including UCF -has observed a rare quantum physics effect that produces a repeating butterfly-shaped energy spectrum in a magnetic field, confirming the longstanding prediction of the quantum fractal energy structure called Hofstadter's butterfly.

Study brings greater understanding of tumor growth mechanism
A study led by researchers from Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry has for the first time revealed how the loss of a particular tumor suppressing protein leads to the abnormal growth of tumors of the brain and nervous system.

Team wins cubesat berth to gather earth energy imbalance measurements
A team of scientists has won a berth on a tiny satellite to explore one of NASA's most important frontiers in climate studies: The imbalance in Earth's energy budget and the extent to which fast-changing phenomena, like clouds, contribute to that imbalance.

What role do processing bodies play in cell survival and protection against viral infection?
As scientists learn more about processing bodies (PBs), granules present within normal cells, they are unraveling the complex role PBs play in maintaining cellular homeostasis by regulating RNA metabolism and cell signaling.

FASEB speaks out in support of peer review and basic research in letter to House Science Committee
Yesterday, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) President Judith Bond, Ph.D., sent a letter to House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith and Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson expressing FASEB's strong opposition to the proposed

NASA satellite data helps pinpoint glaciers' role in sea level rise
A new study of glaciers worldwide using observations from two NASA satellites has helped resolve differences in estimates of how fast glaciers are disappearing and contributing to sea level rise.

LDL cholesterol is a poor marker of heart health in patients with kidney disease
Among patients with chronic kidney disease, those with very low kidney function had a higher risk of having a heart attack than those with higher kidney function over a four-year period.

New FASEB analysis documents impact of budget cuts on biomedical research
The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology released a new analysis of National Institutes of Health funding trends highlighting the devastating impact of sequestration on the nation's capacity to support critical research.

Carbon in a twirl: The science behind a self-assembled nano-carbon helix
Nanotechnology draws on the fabrication of nanostructures. Scientists have now succeeded in growing a unique carbon structure at the nanoscale that resembles a tiny twirled mustache.

Who's your daddy?
Many species pair for life, or so the story goes.

Most scientists agree: Humans are causing climate change
Most scientists who have studied climate change agree that human activity is its primary cause, an analysis of 20 years of abstracts in peer-reviewed journals shows.

Global health policy fails to address burden of disease on men
Men experience a higher burden of disease and lower life expectancy than women, but policies focusing on the health needs of men are notably absent from the strategies of global health organizations, according to a Viewpoint article in this week's Lancet.

Paleontology: The eloquence of the otoliths
Fish fossils that are about 23 million years old give unprecedented insight into the evolutionary history of the gobioid order, one of the most species-rich groups among the modern bony fishes.

Scientific insurgents say 'Journal Impact Factors' distort science
An ad hoc coalition of unlikely insurgents -- scientists, journal editors and publishers, scholarly societies, and research funders across many scientific disciplines -- today posted an international declaration calling on the world scientific community to eliminate the role of the journal impact factor in evaluating research for funding, hiring, promotion, or institutional effectiveness.

Add boron for better batteries
A graphene-boron compound is theoretically capable of storing double the energy of common graphite anodes used in lithium-ion batteries.

Novel quality control system
Tecnalia is co-ordinating the MUPROD project, which is part of the European Commission's 7th Framework Programme.

'One Health' paradigm for the future featured in medical school textbook
In the new medical textbook, Jekel's Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Preventive Medicine, and Public Health (Elsevier, 2013), Wildlife Conservation Society veterinarian and Director of Health Policy, Dr.

Patients fare better at hospitals using Get With The Guidelines-Stroke
People with strokes caused by blood clots fared better in hospitals participating in the Get With the Guidelines®-Stroke program than in those not involved in the program.

Frontiers news briefs
This week's news briefs include: differential roles of orexin receptors in the regulation of sleep/wakefulness; reclaimed water as a reservoir of antibiotic resistance genes; and cholesterol accelerating the binding of Alzheimer's beta-amyloid peptide.

Breakthrough for IVF?
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, today announced the publication of a recent study in Reproductive BioMedicine Online on 5-day old human blastocysts showing that those with an abnormal chromosomal composition can be identified by the rate at which they have developed to blastocysts, thereby classifying the risk of genetic abnormality without a biopsy.

MARC Travel Awards announced for the SDB 2013 72nd Annual Meeting
FASEB MARC Program has announced the travel award recipients for The Society for Developmental Biology 72nd Annual Meeting in Cancun, Mexico from June 16-20, 2013.

Genetic risk for schizophrenia is connected to reduced IQ
The relationship between the heritable risk for schizophrenia and low intelligence has not been clear.

High-testosterone competitors more likely to choose red
Why do so many sports players and athletes choose to wear the color red when they compete?

Vitamin C does not lower uric acid levels in gout patients
Despite previous studies touting its benefit in moderating gout risk, new research reveals that vitamin C, also known ascorbic acid, does not reduce uric acid (urate) levels to a clinically significant degree in patients with established gout.

Columbia licenses novel 3-D organ and tumor segmentation software to Varian Medical Systems
Columbia University has signed a licensing agreement with Varian Medical Systems for novel imaging software that facilitates 3-D segmentation, the process by which anatomical structures in medical images are distinguished from one another -- an important step in the precise planning of cancer surgery and radiation treatments.

Art of Science exhibit celebrates the 'unpredictability of beauty'
The Princeton University Art of Science 2013 exhibit can now be viewed in a new online gallery.

MARC Travel Awards announced for the 2013 60th Annual ACSM Meeting & 4th World Congress
FASEB MARC Program has announced the travel award recipients for the 2013 American College of Sports Medicine 60th Annual Meeting & 4th World Congress on Exercise is MedicineTM in Indianapolis, IN from May 28 - June 1, 2013.

Cancer survivors battle with the blues
Depressed cancer survivors are twice as likely to die prematurely than those who do not suffer from depression, irrespective of the cancer site.

Body mass index of low income African-Americans linked to proximity of fast food restaurants
African-American adults living closer to a fast food restaurant had a higher body mass index than those who lived further away from fast food, according to researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and this association was particularly strong among those with a lower income.

Expert questions US public health agency advice on influenza vaccines
The United States government public health agency, the CDC, pledges

Healthy companies and healthy regions: Connecting the dots
Researchers at the Edward Lowe Foundation's Institute for Exceptional Growth Companies, University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Northern Illinois University have advanced the longstanding theory of regional income convergence -- and revealed new insights about the geographic dynamics of the US economy.

Herpes infections: Natural killer cells activate hematopoiesis
Infections can trigger hematopoiesis at sites outside the bone marrow -- in the liver, the spleen or the skin.

Nature: X-ray tomography on a living frog embryo
X-ray radiographs provide information about internal structures of organisms such as bones.

New insights into how materials transfer heat could lead to improved electronics
University of Toronto Engineering researchers, working with colleagues from Carnegie Mellon University, have published new insights into how materials transfer heat, which could lead eventually to smaller, more powerful electronic devices.

Endothelium, heal thyself
Investigators from the Center for Vascular Biology Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center publish new findings showing that the endothelium's efficient barrier function relies on an enormous self-restorative capacity.

Researchers say they are shocked by new statistics on head injuries among people who are homeless
Men who are heavy drinkers and homeless for long periods of time have 400 times the number of head injuries as the general population, according to a new study by researchers who said they were shocked by their findings.

New method proposed for detecting gravitational waves from ends of universe
A new window into the nature of the universe may be possible with a device proposed by scientists at the University of Nevada, Reno and Stanford University that would detect elusive gravity waves from the other end of the cosmos.

Fast and painless way to better mental arithmetic? Yes, there might actually be a way
In the future, if you want to improve your ability to manipulate numbers in your head, you might just plug yourself in.

Nanotechnology could help fight diabetes
Injectable nanoparticles developed at MIT may someday eliminate the need for patients with Type 1 diabetes to constantly monitor their blood-sugar levels and inject themselves with insulin.

New X-ray method shows how frog embryos could help thwart disease
An international team of scientists using a new X-ray method recorded the internal structure and cell movement inside a living frog embryo in greater detail than ever before.

Promising treatment for progeria within reach
Pharmaceuticals that inhibit a specific enzyme may be useful in treating progeria, or accelerated aging in children.

Weather on the outer planets only goes so deep
Weizmann Institute researchers and their colleagues set an upper limit for the thickness of jet streams on Uranus and Neptune.

LLNL scientist finds topography of Eastern Seaboard muddles ancient sea level changes
The distortion of the ancient shoreline and flooding surface of the US Atlantic Coastal Plain are the direct result of fluctuations in topography in the region and could have implications on understanding long-term climate change, according to a new study.

European Society of Human Genetics urges caution over use of new genetic sequencing techniques
The use of genome-wide analysis, where the entirety of an individual's DNA is examined to look for the genomic mutations or variants which can cause health problems is a massively useful technology for diagnosing disease.

Sea level: One-third of its rise comes from melting mountain glaciers
About 99 percent of the world's land ice is stored in the huge ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland, while only 1 percent is contained in glaciers.

Climate change may have little impact on tropical lizards
A new Dartmouth College study finds human-caused climate change may have little impact on many species of tropical lizards, contradicting a host of recent studies that predict their widespread extinction in a rapidly warming planet.

Late breaking clinical trials introduced for first time at EHRA EUROPACE 2013
Attendees will have the opportunity to hear the results of cutting edge studies and to learn about the new ESC Clinical Practice Guidelines on Cardiac Pacing and Cardiac Resynchronisation, which are likely to have a tremendous impact on the European health care system.

Depression linked to almost doubled stroke risk in middle-aged women
Depression among women 47-52 years old is associated with an almost doubled risk of stroke.

Actor Johnny Depp immortalized in ancient fossil find
A scientist has discovered an ancient extinct creature with 'scissor hand-like' claws in fossil records and has named it in honour of his favourite movie star.

Beautiful 'flowers' self-assemble in a beaker
By simply manipulating chemical gradients in a beaker of fluid, materials scientists at Harvard have found that they can control the growth behavior of crystals to create precisely tailored structures -- such as delicate, micron-scale flowers.

Ethicists provide framework supporting new recommendations on reporting incidental findings in gene sequencing
In a paper published in Science Express, a group of experts led by bioethicists in the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy at Baylor College of Medicine provide a framework for the new American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics recommendations on reporting incidental findings in clinical exome and genome sequencing.

Health transitions in Pakistan
Health in Pakistan is at a turning point: as the dust settles from recent elections, and a new era in state governance begins as a result of the 18th amendment to Pakistan's constitution, The Lancet publishes a major new Series on Health Transitions in Pakistan, analyzing the country's past and present performance in health, and calling for a unified vision for universal and equitable health access across the nation.

South Africa's new radio telescope reveals giant outbursts from binary star system
An international team of astronomers have reported the first scientific results from the Karoo Array Telescope in South Africa, the pathfinder radio telescope for the $3 billion global Square Kilometre Array project.

UT Arlington physicist's tool has potential for brain mapping
A physicist at The University of Texas at Arlington is developing a new tool that uses low-energy near-infrared light and fiber optics for optogenetic stimulation of cells.

Bach to the blues, our emotions match music to colors
Whether we're listening to Bach or the blues, our brains are wired to make music-color connections depending on how the melodies make us feel, according to new research from the University of California, Berkeley.

MARC Travel Awards announced for the ENDO 2013 95th Annual Meeting
FASEB MARC Program has announced the travel award recipients for The Endocrine Society 95th Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA from June 15-18, 2013.

Work-related stress linked to increased blood fat levels
Spanish researchers have studied how job stress affects cardiovascular health.

URC receives USAID's Excellence in Mentorship Award
The United States Agency for International Development awarded University Research Co., LLC (URC) the first ever Excellence in Mentorship Award during the agency's Sixth Annual Small Business Conference on May 16th in Washington, D.C.

How should geophysics contribute to disaster planning?
Earthquakes, tsunamis, and other natural disasters often showcase the worst in human suffering -- especially when those disasters strike populations who live in rapidly growing communities in the developing world with poorly enforced or non-existent building codes.

Natural 'keystone molecules' punch over their weight in ecosystems
Ecosystems are disproportionately influenced by

World's melting glaciers making large contribution to sea rise
While 99 percent of Earth's land ice is locked up in the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, the remaining ice in the world's glaciers contributed just as much to sea rise as the two ice sheets combined from 2003 to 2009, says a new study led by Clark University and involving the University Colorado Boulder.

David Byrne receives national 2013 Carroll R. Miller Award for peach research
Dr. David Byrne, Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist in College Station, has received the Carroll R.

DZNE and Charite work together: With joined forces against neurodegenerative diseases
The German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases and Charité -- Universitätsmedizin Berlin are internationally leading institutions for research in the field of neurodegenerative diseases.

Vicious cycle: Obesity sustained by changes in brain biochemistry
In a new discovery reported in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Brown University and Lifespan researchers show that in the brain cells of rats, obesity impedes the production of a hormone that curbs appetite and inspires calorie burning.

Returning genetic incidental findings without patient consent violates basic rights
In a paper to be published in Science May 16 online ahead of print, authors Susan M.

Artificial forest for solar water-splitting
Berkeley Lab researchers have created the first fully integrated artificial photosynthesis nanosystem.

World's smallest droplets
Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider, the world's most powerful particle accelerator, may have created the smallest drops of liquid made in the lab.

Amazon and Apple fence off their e-book markets
There are no technical or functional reasons for Amazon and Apple to fence off their e-book worlds using proprietary e-book formats.

Reading the unreadable
'Unopenable' scrolls will yield their secrets to new X-ray system Pioneering X-ray technology is making it possible to read fragile rolled-up historical documents for the first time in centuries.

Stem-cell-based strategy boosts immune system in mice
Raising hopes for cell-based therapies, UC San Francisco researchers have created the first functioning human thymus tissue from embryonic stem cells in the laboratory.

Fishing for memories
In our interaction with our environment we constantly refer to past experiences stored as memories to guide behavioral decisions.

Innovative screening method uses RNA interference technology to identify 'lethal' and 'rescuer' genes
Lethal and rescuer genes are defined as genes that when inactivated result in cell death or enhanced cell growth, respectively.

World's biggest ice sheets likely more stable than previously believed
A new study suggests that the previous connections scientists made between ancient shoreline height and ice volumes are erroneous and that perhaps our ice sheets were more stable in the past than we originally thought.

NASA sees Eastern Pacific get first tropical storm: Alvin
NASA's Aqua satellite and NOAA's GOES-15 satellite captured imagery of the Eastern Pacific Ocean's first named tropical storm, Alvin.

Moth-inspired nanostructures take the color out of thin films
Inspired by the structure of moth eyes, researchers at North Carolina State University have developed nanostructures that limit reflection at the interfaces where two thin films meet, suppressing the

A*STAR and Cytos bring Singapore's first influenza vaccine to clinical testing
Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research and Switzerland's Cytos Biotechnology AG today announced that the first healthy volunteer has been dosed in a Phase 1 clinical trial with their H1N1 influenza vaccine candidate based on Cytos' proprietary bacteriophage Qbeta virus-like particle technology.

Predicting risky sexual behavior
A recent study by a team of researchers at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas found that risky sexual behavior can be predicted by cultural, socioeconomic and individual mores in conjunction with how one views themselves.

Clemson receives $5M for alliance to increase African-Americans in computer sciences
The National Science Foundation has awarded Clemson University a $5 million grant to launch the Institute for African-American Mentoring in Computing Sciences.

Women with chronic physical disabilities are no less likely to bear children
Like the general public, health care professionals may hold certain stereotypes regarding sexual activity and childbearing among women with disabilities.

Gene involved in neurodegeneration keeps clock running
Northwestern University scientists have shown a gene involved in neurodegenerative disease also plays a critical role in the proper function of the circadian clock.

Security risks found in sensors for heart devices, consumer electronics
The type of sensors that pick up the rhythm of a beating heart in implanted cardiac defibrillators and pacemakers are vulnerable to tampering, according to a new study conducted in controlled laboratory conditions.

Students' diet and physical activity improve with parent communications
College students eat more fruits and vegetables and exercise more on days when they communicate more with their parents, according to researchers at Penn State.

Stacking 2-D materials produces surprising results
New experiments reveal previously unseen effects, could lead to new kinds of electronics and optical devices.

Study: Brain makes call on which ear is used for cell phone
If you're a left-brain thinker, chances are you use your right hand to hold your cell phone up to your right ear, according to a newly published study from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

Can math models of gaming strategies be used to detect terrorism networks?
In a paper published in the SIAM Journal on Discrete Mathematics last month, authors Anthony Bonato, Dieter Mitsche, and Pawel Pralat describe a mathematical model to disrupt flow of information in a complex real-world network, such as a terrorist organization, using minimal resources.

NASA sees heavy rainfall as Cyclone Mahasen made landfall
NASA's TRMM satellite identified areas of heavy rainfall as Cyclone Mahasen made landfall today, May 16, in southern Bangladesh.

70's-era physics prediction finally confirmed
An international team has confirmed a phenomenon that has appeared in physics textbooks for nearly 40 years, but has never before been observed.

Change in cycle track policy needed to boost ridership, public health
Bicycle engineering guidelines often used by state regulators to design bicycle facilities need to be overhauled to reflect current cyclists' preferences and safety data, according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health researchers. 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