Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 11, 2013
Development of a new program that simulates protein movements
On the basis of the similarity in the way robots and proteins move, the theorems and algorithms used for studying and simulating the mechanisms have been adapted at the department of mechanics of the Faculty of Engineering in Bilbao.

New technology transforms research in viral biology
Researchers at The Mount Sinai Medical Center have developed an innovative system to test how a virus interacts with cells in the body -- to see, for example, what happens in lung cells when a deadly respiratory virus attacks them.

Calculating the true cost of a ton of mountaintop coal
To meet current US coal demand through surface mining, an area of the Central Appalachians the size of Washington, D.C., would need to be mined every 81 days.

Exercise for depression: Some benefits but better trials are needed
Exercise may benefit people suffering from depression, according to an updated systematic review published in The Cochrane Library.

Entomological Society of America names winners of Monsanto student travel and research awards
The Entomological Society of America is pleased to announce the winners of the 2013 Monsanto Research Grant Awards and the 2013 Monsanto Student Travel Awards.

Climate change may speed up forests' life cycles
Many climate studies have predicted that tree species will respond to global warming by migrating via seed dispersal to cooler climates.

Meningitis A mass vaccination campaign in sub-Saharan Africa shows dramatic impact of new vaccine
Research looking at the effectiveness of a new meningitis vaccine for the main epidemic strain in Africa shows dramatically reduced incidence of all cases of meningitis by 94 percent and carriage prevalence of the epidemic strain by 98 percent, while an epidemic persisted in unvaccinated parts of Chad.

Male orangutans plan, communicate travel routes a day in advance
Wild male orangutans plan their travel and communicate their plans to other orangutans.

Genomatix Pathway System (GePS) now available in Illumina's BaseSpace Apps
Genomatix has added the Genomatix Pathway System (GePS) to BaseSpace Apps, Illumina's dedicated applications store and informatics community dedicated to advancing genomic analysis.

OHSU AIDS vaccine candidate appears to completely clear virus from the body
An HIV/AIDS vaccine candidate developed by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University appears to have the ability to completely clear an AIDS-causing virus from the body.

Who's got guts? Young infants expect animals to have insides
A team of researchers at the University of Illinois has shown that 8-month-old infants expect objects they identify as animals to have insides.

Preventing family mass murders
A new book by Northwestern Medicine® neuropsychologist Robert Hanlon pieces together the circumstances that led a small-town Illinois teenager to brutally murder his parents and three siblings and offers warning signs that may prevent such tragedies in the future.

Mosquito bites deliver potential new malaria vaccine
This study suggests that genetically engineered malaria parasites that are stunted through precise gene deletions (genetically attenuated parasites, or

Risk assessment team on Bt plants wins Integrated Pest Management Award
The NTA IPM team has significantly enhanced the environmental risk assessment of Bt crops, and they have developed research and outreach information needed by scientific and regulatory communities to understand potential risks and benefits of Bt crops to beneficial non-target arthropods.

Test could identify which prostate cancers require treatment
The level of expression of three genes associated with aging can be used to predict whether seemingly low-risk prostate cancer will remain slow-growing, according to researchers.

Paleorivers across Sahara may have supported ancient human migration routes
Three ancient river systems, now buried, may have created viable routes for human migration across the Sahara to the Mediterranean region about 100,000 years ago.

Tiny number of Asian carp could be big problem for the Great Lakes
A tiny number of Asian carp could establish a population of the invasive fish in the Great Lakes, according to new research from the University of Waterloo.

New system allows cloud customers to detect program-tampering
A new version of

Brachytherapy to treat cervical cancer declines in US, treatment associated with higher survival
A study by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital found that brachytherapy treatment was associated with better cause-specific survival and overall survival in women with cervical cancer.

Global warming could change strength of El Niño
Global warming could impact the El Niño Southern Oscillation, altering the cycles of El Niño and La Niña events that bring extreme drought and flooding to Australia and many other Pacific-rim countries.

Dreaming is still possible even when the mind is blank
This paper proves that even patients with Auto-Activation Disorder have the ability to dream and that it is the

Pacific humpback whale abundance higher in British Columbia
Humpback whale populations are on the rise in the coastal fjords of British Columbia, doubling in size from 2004 to 2011.

Selection drives functional evolution of large enzyme families
Researchers at Umeå University in Sweden, together with researchers at the Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, show in a new study how natural selection drives functional evolution of a large protein family in conifer trees.

T-rays offer potential for earlier diagnosis of melanoma
The technology that peeks underneath clothing at airport security screening check points has great potential for looking underneath human skin to diagnose cancer at its earliest and most treatable stages, a scientist said here today.

'Incidental findings' rare but significant events in pediatric CT scans
The largest study of computed tomographic scans taken in emergency departments across the country for children with head injuries describes the prevalence of

Iowa State, IBM astronomers explain why disk galaxies eventually look alike
Astronomers from Iowa State University and IBM have discovered the fundamental process responsible for the smooth, steady fade of older disk galaxies.

U-M Water Center awards $2.9M for 8 Great Lakes restoration projects
The University of Michigan Water Center has awarded eight research grants, totaling nearly $2.9 million, to support Great Lakes restoration and protection efforts.

Chest pain duration can signal heart attack
Patients with longer-lasting chest pain are more likely having a heart attack than those with pain of a shorter duration.

NIH awards CCNY $1.5 million to train addiction researchers
Aiming to increase the number of scientists from underrepresented minority groups conducting addiction research, the National Institute on Drug Abuse has awarded $1.5 million to support a new training program at the City College of New York.

CU-Boulder student-built satellite slated for launch by NASA Sept. 15
A small beach-ball-sized satellite designed and built by a team of University of Colorado Boulder students to better understand how atmospheric drag can affect satellite orbits is now slated for launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Sept.

New mutation identified, associated with better survival in lung cancer patients
Japanese researchers have identified a mutation associated with a higher incidence of lung cancer in Japanese women who do not smoke, but better survival in lung cancer patients.

Entomological Foundation announces 2013 Insect Science Award winners
The Entomological Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of its 2013 awards.

A CNIO team is the first to produce embryonic stem cells in living adult organisms
Manuel Serrano's group manages to reproduce a technique in mice that, applied in vitro, won Shinya Yamanaka the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2012.

First randomized trial of targeted cancer medicine in all tumor types
A further step along the road to the personalization of cancer medicine, where treatment is based on the individual molecular characteristics of tumors rather than their primary site, will be presented at the 2013 European Cancer Congress (ECC2013), which starts on Friday Sept.

The eyes have it
Methylmercury compounds specifically target the central nervous system, and among the many effects of their exposure are visual disturbances, which were previously thought to be solely due to methylmercury-induced damage to the brain visual cortex.

Study gives new hope for women suffering from recurrent miscarriage
A team of researchers, led by the University of Warwick, have published new data that could prove vital for advances in care for women who suffer from recurrent miscarriage.

Research community continues to feel the impact of sequestration as more cuts loom
Catastrophic cuts to life saving biomedical research will continue unless Congress reaches agreement on an alternative approach to deficit reduction that cancels sequestration.

Orangutans plan their future route and communicate it to others
Male orangutans plan their travel route up to one day in advance and communicate it to other members of their species.

Mobile PCB cleanup system developed
University of Calgary scientists have developed new technology that promises a safer, cheaper way to clean up hazardous PCBs in soil using ultraviolet light -- the first technology of its kind in the world.

Terahertz time-domain spectroscopy for oil and gas detection
Petroleum is one of the world's most important non-renewable energy resources.

Faulty stem cell regulation may contribute to cognitive deficits associated with Down syndrome
The learning and physical disabilities that affect people with Down syndrome may be due at least in part to defective stem cell regulation throughout the body, according to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

An unprecedented threat to Peru's cloud forests
Researchers at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. have pieced together startling new evidence that shows rapid 21st century warming may spell doom for tree species in Peruvian cloud forests, with species losing 53-96 percent of their populations.

Fires in Argentina Sept. 11, 2013
Wildfires have broken out in four provinces in Argentina including forest land in Cordoba.

Testosterone deficiency not the only cause of age-associated changes in men
Just as the symptoms of menopause in women are attributed to a sharp drop in estrogen production, symptoms often seen in middle-aged men -- changes in body composition, energy, strength and sexual function -- are usually attributed to the less drastic decrease in testosterone production that typically occurs in the middle years.

Substance that gives grapefruit its flavor and aroma could give insect pests the boot
The citrus flavor and aroma of grapefruit -- already used in fruit juices, citrus-flavored beverages, and prestige perfumes and colognes -- may be heading for a new use in battling mosquitoes, ticks, head lice and bedbugs thanks to a less expensive way of making large amounts of the once rare and pricey ingredient, a scientist said here today at the 246th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

'Love hormone' may play wider role in social interaction than previously thought
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have shown that oxytocin -- often referred to as

A phone call can change your life: Study finds
They say a phone call can change your life and for colorectal or bowel cancer survivors this is true, a new study by a QUT researcher has found.

New antibiotic shows promise for treating MRSA pneumonia
A drug approved just two years ago for treating bacterial infections may hold promise for treating the potentially fatal MRSA pneumonia, according to a Henry Ford Hospital study.

Elsevier and Energy Institute organize First Energy Systems Conference to be held in June 2014
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical, and medical information products and services, today announced its official collaboration with the Energy Institute in organizing the first Energy Systems conference to be held 24-25 June 2014 in London.

Discovery of cell division 'master controller' may improve understanding and treatment of cancer
In a study to be published in the journal Nature, two Dartmouth researchers have found that the protein cyclin A plays an important but previously unknown role in the cell division process, acting as a master controller to ensure the faithful segregation of chromosomes during cell division.

Plants in space: A novel method for fixing plant tissue samples maximizes time, resources, and data
University of Florida researchers are collaborating with NASA to understand plant growth and development in spaceflight.

Aerobic fitness boosts learning, memory in 9-10-year-old children
Physical fitness can boost learning and memory in children, particularly when initial learning on a task is more challenging.

First proteomic analysis of birth defect demonstrates power of a new technique
The first proteomic analysis of an animal model of a rare, sometimes deadly birth defect, Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome, has revealed that the molecular mechanisms that cause it are more complex than previously understood.

Drug treatment means better, less costly care for children with sickle cell disease
The benefits of hydroxyurea treatment in people with sickle cell disease are well known -- fewer painful episodes, fewer blood transfusions and fewer hospitalizations.

Robots take over
University of Miami physicist Neil Johnson discovered one reason for these

Public opinion poll shows gap between experts and public on need to cut Medicare spending
As debate over the national debt and the federal budget deficit heats up, an analysis of recent national polls shows that, compared with government reports, the public has different views about the need to reduce future Medicare spending.

How schizophrenia affects the brain
University of Iowa psychiatry professor Nancy Andreasen has published a study using brain scans to document the effects of schizophrenia on brain tissue.

The final nail in the Jurassic Park coffin: Next generation sequencing reveals absence of DNA in sub-fossilized insects
It is hardly possible to talk about fossil insects in amber without the 1993 movie Jurassic Park entering the debate.

Brain atrophy linked with cognitive decline in diabetes
New research has shown that cognitive decline in people with type 2 diabetes is likely due to brain atrophy, or shrinkage, that resembles patterns seen in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.

Latest research on ingredients that make chocolate, olive oil, tea healthful foods
The scientific spotlight focuses today on the healthful antioxidant substances in red wine, dark chocolate, olive oil, coffee, tea, and other foods and dietary supplements that are enticing millions of consumers with the promise of a healthier, longer life.

American families taking 'divergent paths,' study finds
After a period of relative calm during the 1990s, rapid changes in American families began anew during the 2000s, a new analysis suggests.

Patients and carers granted access to over 300 Wiley journals
John Wiley & Sons, Inc., has announced it will join patientACCESS, a new program which offers low-cost access to medical and scientific research articles to patients and caregivers.

Study provides insights on protecting world's poor from climate change
The worst impacts of climate change on the world's poorest fishing communities can likely be avoided by careful management of the local environment and investing in the diversification of options for local people, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society and James Cook University.

Airbrushing could facilitate large-scale manufacture of carbon nanofibers
Researchers have used airbrushing techniques to grow vertically aligned carbon nanofibers on several different metal substrates, opening the door for incorporating these nanofibers into gene delivery devices, sensors, batteries and other technologies.

Australian tarantula venom contains novel insecticide against agricultural pests
Spider venoms are usually toxic when injected into prey, but a new protein discovered in the venom of Australian tarantulas can also kill prey insects that consume the venom orally.

Research uncovers potential preventive for central line infection
A team of researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center has developed an antibody that could prevent Candida infections that often afflict hospitalized patients who receive central lines.

'Merlin' is a matchmaker, not a magician
Johns Hopkins researchers have figured out the specific job of a protein long implicated in tumors of the nervous system.

Trauma centers serving mostly white patients have lower death rates for patients of all races
Nearly 80 percent of trauma centers in the United States that serve predominantly minority patients have higher-than-expected death rates, according to new Johns Hopkins research.

Unusual mechanism of DNA synthesis could explain genetic mutations
Researchers have discovered the details of how cells repair breaks in both strands of DNA, a potentially devastating kind of DNA damage.

Hartwig Piepenbrock-DZNE Prize: €100,000 for brain researchers
Professor Adriano Aguzzi of the University of Zurich and professor Charles Weissmann of the Scripps Research Institute Florida will be awarded the 2013 Hartwig Piepenbrock-DZNE Prize for outstanding research in the field of neurodegenerative diseases.

Gene-expression-based biomarker predicts long-term risk of breast cancer recurrence
A comparison of three methods of predicting the risk of recurrence in women treated for estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer finds that only the breast cancer index -- a biomarker based on the expression levels of seven tumor-specific genes -- accurately identifies patients who continue to be at risk after five years of treatment with either tamoxifen or the aromatase inhibitor anastrozole.

Fat marker predicts cognitive decline in people with HIV
Johns Hopkins scientists have found that levels of certain fats found in cerebral spinal fluid can predict which patients with HIV are more likely to become intellectually impaired.

Entomological Society of America names winners of 2013 student travel grants
The Entomological Society of America is proud to announce the winners of the 2013 Entomology Student Travel Grants.

Crop-raiding elephants flee tiger growls
Wild Asian elephants slink quietly away at the sound of a growling tiger, but trumpet and growl before retreating from leopard growls, UC Davis researchers have found.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons releases Choosing Wisely list
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons today released a list of specific tests or procedures that are commonly ordered but not always necessary.

Researchers win $5.25 million NIH grant to develop new single molecule electronic DNA sequencing platform
A team of researchers led by Columbia Engineering professor Jingyue Ju has won a three-year $5.25 million NIH grant to develop a novel integrated miniaturized system for real-time single molecule electronic DNA sequencing.

Obesity combined with exposure to cigarette smoke may pose new health concerns
Millions of people who are obese and smoke tobacco may face additional health problems -- including their responses to common prescription medicines -- that extend beyond the well-known links with cancer, heart attacks and stroke, according to a report presented here today at the 246th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

Variation in bitter receptor mRNA expression affects taste perception
New findings from the Monell Center reveal that a person's sensitivity to bitter taste is shaped not only by which taste genes that person has, but also by how much messenger RNA -- the gene's instruction guide that tells a taste cell to build a specific receptor -- their taste cells make.

Pumping draws arsenic toward a big-city aquifer
Naturally occurring arsenic pollutes wells across the world, especially in south and southeast Asia, where an estimated 100 million people are exposed to dangerous levels.

'Desperation DNA' synthesis could explain genetic mutations
Researchers have discovered the details of how cells repair breaks in both strands of their DNA, a potentially devastating kind of DNA damage.

Researchers discover crucial pathway to fight gut infection
An international team of researchers, led by the University of Melbourne, have found a crucial pathway for defending the human gut against infection. 

Li Qian receives New Scholar in Aging Award from Ellison Medical Foundation
Li Qian, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, has received a 2013 New Scholar in Aging Award from the Ellison Medical Foundation.

New research provides crucial insight into lives of children in care
The Care Pathways and Outcomes Study is one of only a small number of studies worldwide that has taken a long-term comparative approach, providing vital information for practitioners.

Low dose antibiotic treatment of C-difficile as effective as high dose in hospital setting
Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center found using lower doses of vancomycin effectively treats C. difficile.

Obesity may be associated with even occasional migraines
People who get occasional migraines are more likely to be obese than people who do not have migraines, according to a study published in the Sept.

NASA 3-D image clearly shows wind shear's effect on Tropical Storm Gabrielle
Data obtained from NASA's TRMM satellite was used to create a 3-D image of Tropical Storm Gabrielle's rainfall that clearly showed wind shear pushed all of the storm's the rainfall east of its center.

Testing for hereditary breast cancer? Toolkit helps families talk, cope, decide what to do
Actress Angelina Jolie made headlines in May when she revealed she underwent a preventive double mastectomy to reduce her risk of cancer.

Researcher wins best paper award for automated interview coach
University of Rochester researcher M. Ehsan Hoque has won a best paper award at the 2013 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing for a computer system designed to help people practice social interactions.

The Zuelch Prize 2013 -- reward for brain researchers
For their research into the reward system and other modulating networks, Wolfram Schultz from the University of Cambridge and Raymond J.

Researchers move endangered mussels to save them
Researchers at the University of Illinois have transported two endangered freshwater mussel species from Pennsylvania to Illinois in an attempt to re-establish their populations in the western part of the Ohio River Basin.

New study discovers copper destroys highly infectious norovirus
Scientists from the University of Southampton have discovered that copper and copper alloys rapidly destroy norovirus -- the highly-infectious sickness bug.

Radiotherapy in girls and the risk of breast cancer later in life
Berkeley Lab researchers have helped determine why exposing young women and girls under the age of 20 to ionizing radiation can substantially raise the risk of their developing breast cancer later in life.

New meningitis vaccine protects against epidemic strain
A new meningitis vaccine (MenAfriVac) is highly effective at protecting against epidemic A meningococcal disease, common in Africa's meningitis belt where it accounts for at least three-quarters of cases, and against transmission of the bacterium that causes these epidemics, according to new research published in The Lancet.

Salk scientist Tatyana Sharpee receives CAREER Award from NSF
Salk scientist Tatyana Sharpee has received a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation to fund upcoming research in her lab.

Autistic children with better motor skills more adept at socializing
In a new study looking at toddlers and preschoolers with autism, researchers found that children with better motor skills were more adept at socializing and communicating.

Entomological Society of America announces 2013 awardees
The Entomological Society of America is pleased to announce the winners of its 2013 awards.

Hottest days in some parts of Europe have warmed 4 times more than the global average
Some of the hottest days and coldest nights in parts of Europe have warmed more than four times the global average change since 1950, according to a new paper by researchers from the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of Warwick, which is published today in the journal

2 NASA satellites analyze Hurricane Humberto's clouds and rainfall
Two NASA satellites passed over the hurricane in the Eastern Atlantic on Sept.

New system uses nanodiamonds to deliver chemotherapy drugs directly to brain tumors
Researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have developed a new drug delivery system using nanodiamonds that allows for direct application of chemotherapy to brain tumors with fewer harmful side effects and better cancer-killing efficiency than existing treatments.

Transplanting fat may be effective treatment for metabolic disease
Transplanting fat may treat such inherited metabolic diseases as maple syrup urine disease by helping the body process the essential amino acids that these patients cannot, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

Scripps Research Institute scientists solve century-old chemistry problem
Chemists at the Scripps Research Institute have found a way to apply a

Technoeconomic model for biofuels
JBEI researchers are developing wiki-based technoeconomic models to help accelerate the development of next generation biofuels that are economically competitive with petroleum-based fuels.

Versatile microRNAs choke off cancer blood supply, suppress metastasis
A family of microRNAs (miR-200) blocks cancer progression and metastasis by stifling a tumor's ability to weave new blood vessels to support itself, researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center report today in Nature Communications.

Nanotech start-up wins international industry honors
C-Voltaics, a start-up nanotechnology company created by a University of Houston professor, has won the Young Technology Award at the Commercialization of Micro- and Nanosystems conference, held last month in The Netherlands.

International study provides new genetic clue to anorexia
The largest DNA-sequencing study of anorexia nervosa has linked the eating disorder to variants in a gene coding for an enzyme that regulates cholesterol metabolism.

Rim Fire update Sept. 11, 2013
Firefighters faced extremely hot and dry conditions which contributed to more active fire activity with isolated flare-ups inside current containment lines.

Biologists uncover mechanisms for cholera toxin's deadly effects
Biologists at the University of California, San Diego have identified an underlying biochemical mechanism that helps make cholera toxin so deadly, often resulting in life-threating diarrhea that causes people to lose as much as half of their body fluids in a single day.

In odd-looking mutant, clues about how maize plants control stem cell number
Plant geneticists from CSHL present first evidence of a functional interaction in maize between an important class of signaling molecule called a G protein, which binds receptors, and an unexpected class of cell-surface receptors.

Leading health care researcher Jean B. Owen, Ph.D., named 2013 ASTRO Honorary Member
The American Society for Radiation Oncology has selected health care researcher Jean B.
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