Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 22, 2013
University of Hawaii Cancer Center researcher's discovery
Study finds that higher intake of fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of bladder cancer in women.

Creating plants that make their own fertilizer
Much of modern agriculture relies on biologically available nitrogenous compounds (called

Underwater intelligence
How do you track a fish underwater? Rethinking the traditional, ad hoc approach to acoustic telemetry, University of Hawaii at Manoa scientists Martin Pedersen and Kevin Weng have proposed a new state-space model for analyzing fish movement data collected by marine observation networks.

First laser-like X-ray light from a solid
Researchers have for the first time created an X-ray laser based on a solid.

What goes wrong in a brain affected by Alzheimer's disease?
Differences between communication breakdowns in regions of the brain are reported in a study that compared neural networks, signaling efficiency, and disruptions in connectivity in the brains of healthy elderly subjects and patients with Alzheimer's disease.

23andMe conducts the first genetic study of non-syndromic striae distensae (stretch marks)
23andMe, the leading personal genetics company, has conducted the first genetic study of striae distensae (stretch marks).

A mother's genes influence her child's aging
Mutations of mitochondrial DNA can hasten offspring's aging process.

New risk model sheds light on arsenic risk in China's groundwater
Arsenic-laden groundwater used for cooking and drinking could pose a risk to the health of almost 20 million people across China.

More efficient and economical capture of power plant carbon dioxide emissions
A consortium led by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed a new technology that captures the carbon dioxide emissions of power plants more economically and ecologically.

Art preserves skills despite onset of vascular dementia in 'remarkable' case of a Canadian sculptor
The ability to draw spontaneously as well as from memory may be preserved in the brains of artists long after the deleterious effects of vascular dementia have diminished their capacity to complete simple, everyday tasks, according to a new study by physicians at St.

Stroke risk similar among men and women smokers worldwide
Stroke risk among smokers is high for men and women worldwide.

In mild strokes, ultra-early treatment may eliminate risk of disability
Patients with mild-to-moderate strokes who received care within 90 minutes of stroke symptoms were less likely to have permanent disability.

Relating animals to humans could help conservation projects
New research by conservationists at the universities of Kent, Oxford, Columbia (USA) and Monash (Australia) suggests that people's tendency to relate more to animals that bear a resemblance to humans (anthropomorphism) could help improve public engagement with conservation projects.

2 alternative treatments may help relieve postoperative nausea
Two simple, non-drug treatments -- aromatherapy and intravenous administration of a simple sugar solution -- may offer effective new approaches to relieving nausea and vomiting after surgery, report a pair of studies in the September issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia, official journal of the International Anesthesia Research Society.

Exercise effective and safe in patients with moderate kidney disease
A structured exercise and lifestyle program can help kidney disease patients become fitter and lose weight, and it can improve their heart health.

Sticking power of plant polyphenols used in new coatings
Northwestern University researchers have exploited the powerful and healthful polyphenols found in green tea, red wine and dark chocolate in a new way.

Protein-based urine test predicts kidney transplant outcomes
Levels of a protein in the urine of kidney transplant recipients can distinguish those at low risk of developing kidney injury from those at high risk, a study suggests.

How hormones and microbes drive the gender bias in autoimmune diseases
Females can mount more powerful immune responses than males, but the flip side of this enhanced protection against infections is a greater risk for autoimmune disorders.

Cognition in aging: Prestigeous European research grant for Magdeburg neuroscientist
Prof. Thomas Wolbers from the Magdeburg site of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases has been awarded a

New findings lead researchers to call for worldwide recording of smoking in death registries
Researchers today [Friday 23 August] call for official death registries in all countries to record whether the dead person was a smoker, in a research Article published in The Lancet.

Process devised for ultrathin carbon membranes
A research team working with Professor Dr. Armin Gölzhäuser of Bielefeld University has succeeded in developing a new path to produce carbon nanomembranes.

Researchers figure out why gold nanoparticles can penetrate cell walls
Gold nanoparticles with special coatings can deliver drugs or biosensors to a cell's interior without damaging it.

TCT 2013 celebrates 25 years of interventional innovation
Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) is the annual scientific symposium of the Cardiovascular Research Foundation.

NASA catches Typhoon Trami's landfall in China
NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Typhoon Trami during the time it was making landfall in eastern China and captured an infrared view of the storm.

Better management of free time ensures happier retirement
Retirees should be masters of their own destiny, and actively manage and plan their free time to ensure a happy and fulfilling retirement.

Chemistry textbook is a recipe collection for future pharma
Pharmaceuticals of the future will be fashioned using the human body's own chemical substances, proteins and peptides.

Study helps explain increased melanoma risk in individuals with red hair
Researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine have discovered that the same mutation responsible for red hair promotes an important cancer-causing pathway.

UCLA researchers invent portable device for common kidney tests
A lightweight and portable device invented at UCLA that conducts kidney tests and transmits data through a cellphone attachment may significantly reduce the need for frequent office visits by diabetes patients and others with chronic kidney ailments.

Go on, volunteer -- it could be good for you!
Volunteering can improve mental health and help you live longer, finds the study which pools and compares data from multiple experimental trials and longitudinal cohort studies.

UCI-led study reveals how SARS virus hijacks host cells
UC Irvine infectious disease researchers have uncovered components of the SARS coronavirus -- which triggered a major outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome in 2002-03 -- that allow it to take over host cells in order to replicate.

Toxic nanoparticles might be entering human food supply
Farmers have used silver nanoparticles as a pesticide because of their capability to suppress the growth of harmful organisms.

Study adds lung damage to harmful effects of arsenic
A new study confirms that exposure to low to moderate amounts of arsenic in drinking water can impair lung function.

Computer simulations indicate calcium carbonate has a dense liquid phase
Computer simulations conducted at Berkeley Lab could help scientists make sense of a recently observed and puzzling wrinkle in one of nature's most important chemical processes.

Drug used for blood cancers may stop spread of breast cancer cells, Mayo Clinic finds
A drug used to treat blood cancers may also stop the spread of invasive breast cancer, researchers at Mayo Clinic in Florida have discovered.

Prison education cuts recidivism and improves employment, study finds
Prison inmates who receive general education and vocational training are significantly less likely to return to prison after release and are more likely to find employment than peers who do not receive such opportunities, according to the largest-ever meta-analysis of correctional educational studies.

Engaging in a brief cultural activity can reduce implicit prejudice
A small cue of social connection to someone from another group -- such as a shared interest -- can help reduce prejudice immediately and up to six months later, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Unraveling the mystery of Saharan dust migration
Shankar Chellam, an environmental engineering professor at the University of Houston, is studying the impact of Saharan dust on Houston's air quality, and how it might differ from other sources of pollution.

Article examines fecal microbiota transplantation in the August issue of GIE®
Fecal microbiota transplantation has emerged as a highly effective treatment for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection, with very early experience suggesting that it may also play a role in treating other gastrointestinal (GI) and non-GI diseases.

Finnish researchers develop quick test kit for detecting phenolic compounds in drinking water
Clean drinking water is a diminishing natural resource in developing nations and in many industrialised countries.

The stress and cancer link: 'Master switch' stress gene enables cancer's spread
In an unexpected finding, scientists have linked the activation of a stress gene in immune-system cells to the spread of breast cancer to other parts of the body.

UH, Methodist Hospital Research Institute receive $695K to further robotics research
The Cullen Foundation and The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research awarded grants to a robotics research project by the University of Houston and The Methodist Hospital Research Institute.

NIST ytterbium atomic clocks set record for stability
A pair of experimental atomic clocks based on ytterbium atoms at the National Institute of Standards and Technology has set a new record for stability.

Harvard Stem Cell researchers create cells that line blood vessels
In a scientific first, Harvard Stem Cell Institute scientists have successfully grown the cells that line the blood vessels -- called vascular endothelial cells -- from human induced pluripotent stem cells, revealing new details about how these cells function.

Wolves howl because they care
When a member of the wolf pack leaves the group, the howling by those left behind isn't a reflection of stress but of the quality of their relationships.

Teen driver music preferences increase errors and distractibility -- Ben-Gurion U. study
When the teen drivers listened to their preferred music, virtually all (98 percent) demonstrated an average of three deficient driving behaviors in at least one of the trips.

The 'whole' problem with recycling
Jennifer Argo, a marketing professor in the U of A's Alberta School of Business, says that people are psychologically hard-wired to believe that products that are damaged or that aren't whole -- such as small or ripped paper or dented cans -- are useless, and this leads users to trash them rather than recycle them.

Princeton researchers use mobile phones to measure happiness
Researchers at Princeton University are developing ways to use mobile phones to explore how one's environment influences one's sense of well-being.

Receptor may aid spread of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's in brain
Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found a way that corrupted, disease-causing proteins spread in the brain, potentially contributing to Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and other brain-damaging disorders.

Beetles modify emissions of greenhouse gases from cow pats
Cattle contribute to global warming by burping and farting large amounts of greenhouse gases.

Risk factor reduction after heart attack -- age, race, and gender matter
An article in Journal of Women's Health, a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers, evaluates cardiac risk factors and management strategies by age, sex, and race among 2,369 patients hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction.

Sea ice decline spurs the greening of the Arctic
Sea ice decline and warming trends are changing the vegetation in nearby arctic coastal areas, according to two University of Alaska Fairbanks scientists.

Old concrete can protect nature
Lakes and streams are often receiving so much phosphorous that it could pose a threat to the local aquatic environment.

Quest for the missing bacteria
A Michigan State University scientist will use a $1.9 million grant from the National Science Foundation and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (United Kingdom) to solve the mystery of the missing bacteria.

Columbia researchers win $1 million Keck award
An interdisciplinary team of researchers from Columbia University, led by Ken Shepard, professor of electrical engineering and biomedical engineering at Columbia Engineering and including Virginia W.

ASTRO to award $675,000 in junior faculty research grants
The American Society for Radiation Oncology has selected seven leading researchers who will receive a total of $675,000 in awards and grants to advance radiation oncology research.

Scientists receive $3.4 million to study how human brain expresses positive emotions
The Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, led by Georgia State University, has received a $3.4 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation to investigate the neurobiology behind the evolution of positive emotions and prosocial behaviors, such as empathy, compassion and cooperation.

Gladstone scientists transform non-beating human cells into heart-muscle cells
In the aftermath of a heart attack, cells within the region most affected shut down.

Astronomers use Hubble images for movies featuring space slinky
Astronomers have assembled, from more than 13 years of observations from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, a series of time-lapse movies showing a jet of superheated gas -- 5,000 light-years long -- as it is ejected from a supermassive black hole.

UCLA Nursing study suggests focus on lifestyle changes -- not weight loss -- is key to kids' health
According to a study performed by researchers the UCLA School of Nursing, children who participated in an intensive lifestyle modification program significantly improved their metabolic and cardiovascular health with little weight loss.

Agricultural fires in central Africa
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite detected hundreds of fires burning in central Africa on Aug.

Human brains are hardwired for empathy, friendship, study shows
A U.Va. study using brain scans has found that people experience risk to friends in the same way they feel risk to themselves.

Practical intervention helps patients to quit smoking before surgery
A simple four-part program -- including referral to a quit-smoking hotline and a free supply of nicotine patches -- can increase the percentage of patients who quit smoking before undergoing surgery, reports a study in the September issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia, official journal of the International Anesthesia Research Society.

Survey highlights barriers to interdisciplinary environmental science
A survey of researchers interested and accomplished in interdisciplinary environmental work found that natural and social scientists often had experienced tensions with departments and institutions when attempting such collaborations.

New technique may help regenerate heart cells to treat heart disease
Researchers have developed a new technique that might one day be used to convert cells from heart disease patients into heart muscle cells that could act as a personalized treatment for their condition.

Study finds grandmothers who raise their grandkids struggle with depression
Grandmothers who care for their grandkids full time need help for depression and family strains, report researchers from the Case Western Reserve University's Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing.

3-D Earth model developed at Sandia Labs more accurately pinpoints source of earthquakes, explosions
Under the sponsorship of the National Nuclear Security Administration's Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation R&D, Sandia National Laboratories and Los Alamos National Laboratory have partnered to develop a 3-D model of the Earth's mantle and crust called SALSA3D, or Sandia-Los Alamos 3D.

A Pacific-wide satellite view catches Tropical Storm Pewa and a developing storm
A view of the Pacific Ocean from NOAA's GOES-West satellite caught Tropical Storm Pewa moving through the Northwestern part of the ocean and two developing low pressure areas, one designated System 94E, several hundred miles off the Mexican coast.

Fetal stem cell transplantation favorably impacts radiation-induced cognitive dysfunction
Patients receiving cranial irradiation treatment for brain cancer often suffer post-therapy cognitive detriments, including spatial learning and memory deficits, with significant adverse impacts on the surviving patients' quality of life.

New risk model highlights arsenic risk in China's groundwater
Scientists have developed a model to predict the extent and level of groundwater contamination by arsenic in China.

In the face of trauma, distance helps people find clarity, study shows
New study shows that in the wake of a negative event, people are more likely to find clarity by considering the larger picture.

Scientists pinpoint a new molecular mechanism tied to pancreatic cancer
New research led by scientists at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and Baylor College of Medicine could aid efforts to diagnose and treat one of the most lethal and hard-to-treat types of cancer.

Researchers identify gene variants that may cause kidney problems in lupus patients
Variants in the gene that encodes ABIN1 -- which is involved in the control of inflammation -- are linked with an increased risk for kidney complications in patients with lupus.

Fetal tissue-derived stem cells may be ideal source for repairing tissues and organs
Multipotent fetal dermal cells (MFDCs) used for transplantation offer advantages over adult dermal cells, including a greater cellular yield after isolation, longer proliferation, and retention of differentiation potential.

Nursing professor receives funding to better estimate child fatalities due to abuse and neglect
During a 13-month health policy fellowship at the National Center for Health Statistics, an MU nursing researcher will investigate better ways to identify child maltreatment deaths on death certificates then use this data to estimate a more accurate number of child fatalities due to abuse and neglect nationally.

The potential for successful climate predictions!
Marine scientists, under the auspices of the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, recently managed to successfully hindcast climate shifts in the Pacific.

Morphing manganese
A discovery reported in

Well-being not a priority for workaholics, researcher says
Researchers found a preliminary link between workaholics and reduced physical and mental well-being. 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