Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 25, 2013
The failing freezer: How soil microbes affect global climate
The US Department of Energy has awarded $3.9 million to an international collaboration led by UA ecologists Scott Saleska and Virginia Rich.

New NIH-funded resource focuses on use of genomic variants in medical care
Three new grants from the National Institutes of Health totaling more than $25 million over four years will help three research groups to develop authoritative information on the millions of genomic variants relevant to human disease and the hundreds that are expected to be useful for clinical practice.

Wormlike hematite photoanode breaks the world-record for solar hydrogen production efficiency
A research team of Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, South Korea, developed a

Intensity modulated proton therapy reduces need for feeding tubes by 50 percent
Advanced form of proton therapy offers quality of life benefits compared to standard treatment, prompts further study by MD Anderson Researchers.

Novel drug prevents common viral disease in stem-cell transplant patients, study finds
A common, sometimes severe viral disease in patients receiving a transplant of donated stem cells can be prevented by a new drug given shortly after transplant, according to findings from a clinical trial led by researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital.

LROC coordinates of robotic spacecraft 2013 update
Repeat imaging of anthropogenic (human-made) targets on the Moon remains a Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera priority as the LRO Extended Science Mission continues.

American Society for Bone and Mineral Research Annual Meeting Oct. 4-7
The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) 2013 Annual Meeting is the largest scientific meeting in the world on bone and mineral metabolism, offering an exceptional scientific program that highlights innovative research, technology and new clinical treatments in bone diseases and disorders of mineral metabolism.

Heart health danger highlighted as global survey finds 1 in 4 people report not knowing how much they walk each day
World Heart Federation survey finds more than a quarter of people who took part in a new multi-country survey said they did not know how much time they spent briskly walking at a speed faster than normal.

Making a common cosmetic and sunblock ingredient safer
Using a particular type of titanium dioxide -- a common ingredient in cosmetics, food products, toothpaste and sunscreen -- could reduce the potential health risks associated with the widely used compound.

New approach to treating human brain cancer could lead to improved outcomes
A new approach to treating medulloblastoma has been developed by researchers at Sanford-Burnham.

Astronomers find missing link pulsar
An international team of astronomers has used X-ray telescopes in space and ground-based telescopes, to identify a pulsar that switches between emitting X-rays and emitting radio waves.

Fat grafting helps patients with scarring problems, reports
Millions of people with scars suffer from pain, discomfort, and inability to perform regular activities.

National Science Foundation awards $19.4 million for research on coupled natural and human systems
How and why is tea quality vulnerable to changing climate conditions, and how do these changes affect farming communities and land-use strategies?

False alarm on hepatitis virus highlights challenges of pathogen sleuthing
The report by scientists of a new hepatitis virus earlier this year was a false alarm, according to UC San Francisco researchers who correctly identified the virus as a contaminant present in a type of glassware used in many research labs.

3D mapping is a 'Pisa' cake for Aussie scientists
Australian researchers have created the first ever interior 3D map of Italy's iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa by using a breakthrough mobile laser mapping system.

Melatonin helps control weight gain as it stimulates the appearance of 'beige fat'
Spanish scientists are the first to reveal the previously unknown enigma of the effect melatonin has to counter obesity in the organism and why it has metabolic benefits in treating diabetes and hyperlipidemia.

'X-shape' not true picture of chromosome structure, new imaging technique reveals
A new method for visualising chromosomes is painting a truer picture of their shape, which is rarely like the X-shaped blob of DNA most of us are familiar with.

New multifunctional topological insulator material with combined superconductivity
By employing state-of-art materials design methods, Dr. Binghai Yan and his collaborators from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids and Mainz University have recently predicted that the oxide compound BaBiO3 combines two required properties, i.e., topological insulator and superconductivity.

Scripps Research Institute chemist Phil Baran named MacArthur Fellow
Chemist Phil S. Baran of The Scripps Research Institute has won a 2013 MacArthur Fellowship, sometimes called a

Astronomers uncover a 'transformer' pulsar
An international team of scientists using a fleet of orbiting X-ray telescopes, including NASA's Swift and Chandra X-ray Observatory, has discovered a millisecond pulsar with a dual identity.

Long-term study reveals: The deep Greenland Sea is warming faster than the world ocean
Recent warming of the Greenland Sea Deep Water is about ten times higher than warming rates estimated for the global ocean.

New knowledge on molecular mechanisms behind breast cancer
Researchers at University of Copenhagen have gained more insight into the molecular mechanisms of importance for, for example, cancer cell growth and metastasis.

Cocaine exposure in the womb: The brain structure is intact but development is off track
Prenatal cocaine exposure affects both behavior and brain. Animal studies have shown that exposure to cocaine during in utero development causes numerous disruptions in normal brain development and negatively affects behavior from birth and into adulthood.

Survey reveals improving salary and employment picture for chemists
With the US economy slowly trudging back from recession and uncertainties remaining about government sequestration, the employment and salary snapshot for chemists and chemical engineers in 2013 shows that salaries and the job market are improving.

Sex trafficking and exploitation of minors serious problems in the US, says new report
Commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors are serious problems in the United States with long-term adverse consequences for children and society as a whole, and federal agencies should work with state and local partners to raise awareness of these issues and train professionals who work with youths to recognize and assist those who are victimized or at risk, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council.

Unstable chromosomes linked to less favorable response to RT and surgery in prostate cancer patients
Detailed evaluation of a prostate cancer tumor biopsy may predict treatment outcomes for image-guided radiation therapy or surgery for prostate cancer, according to research presented today at the American Society for Radiation Oncology's 55th Annual Meeting.

Researchers use nanoparticles to deliver vaccines to lungs
Particles that deliver vaccines directly to mucosal surfaces could defend against many infectious diseases.

Tiny antennas let long light waves see in infrared
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers have developed arrays of tiny nano-antennas that can enable sensing of molecules that resonate in the infrared spectrum.

Tweets reveal news readership patterns around the world
In a new article published in SAGE Open, researchers used data collected from Twitter to study readers' news preferences across the globe and discovered that different countries have stronger preference towards different types of articles -- American and British readers are more drawn to opinion and world news, Spaniards to local and national news, Brazilians to sports and arts, and Germans to politics and economy.

Drivers who test positive for drugs have triple the risk of a fatal car crash
In a new study researchers assessed the association of driver drug use, as well as the combination of drugs and alcohol, with the risk of fatal crash.

Seeing light in a new light
Working with colleagues at the Harvard-MIT Center for Ultracold Atoms, Professor of Physics Mikhail Lukin and post-doctoral fellow Ofer Firstenberg have managed to coax photons into binding together to form molecules -- a state of matter that, until recently, had been purely theoretical.

SU physicist develops model for studying tissue pattern formation during embryonic development
M. Lisa Manning, assistant professor of physics in Syracuse University's College of Arts and Sciences, is among a team of scientists working to develop a model for studying tissue -- specifically how it organizes into organs and layers during embryonic development.

'Jekyll and Hyde' star morphs from radio to X-ray pulsar and back again
Astronomers have uncovered the strange case of a neutron star with the peculiar ability to transform from a radio pulsar into an X-ray pulsar and back again.

Missouri ponds provide clue to killer frog disease
In Missouri, about a third of the ponds are infected with chytrid, the notorious skin fungus that has sickened and killed amphibians in other parts of the world.

Discovery offers bio-solution to severe canola crop losses
A genetic discovery by a University of Calgary-led international research team offers a solution to a long-standing

Physicians experience increased effort, uncertainty in cross-coverage of radiation oncology patients
Radiation oncology physicians who encounter an unfamiliar case when cross covering for another physician experience higher levels of perceived workload and may perhaps also effects on performance, according to research conducted at the University of North Carolina.

New 'Smart Rounds' improves safety of radiation therapy
A North Shore-LIJ researcher will present program outcomes at ASTRO's 55th Annual Meeting.

Alpine archaeology reveals high life through the ages
An international team of archaeologists led by experts from the University of York has uncovered evidence of human activity in the high slopes of the French Alps dating back over 8000 years.

Sheep's mucosa shows the way to more effective medicine for severe neurological diseases
New Danish/Italian research shows how medicine for the brain can be absorbed through the nose.

New mechanism for protein misfolding may link to ALS
A recently identified link between a toxic amino acid found in blue-green algae and several motor neuron diseases could help researchers devise a therapy for the fatal conditions.

Tapping a valuable resource or invading the environment? Research examines the start of fracking in Ohio
At an international forum, preliminary research out of the University of Cincinnati examines groundwater resources near hydraulic fracturing operations in the Buckeye State.

Cleveland Clinic's 2013 Obesity Summit explores causes, prevention and treatment of obesity
Cleveland Clinic's 8th Annual Obesity Summit will bring together a diverse mix of healthcare practitioners Oct.

Pharmacy research can help raise health literacy standards, say experts
Since a considerable amount of health information changes hands in the pharmacy setting, research by pharmacists into evaluating which tools are effective in practice can make a valuable contribution to goals set by the 2010 US National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy and lead to improvements in communications and health care, say experts in this special themed issue on

Innovations save lives of mothers and children
Ten health care innovations, if brought to scale immediately in low-resource countries, could have the potential to save the lives of some 1.2 million mothers and children in 2015.

Do elite 'power sport' athletes have a genetic advantage?
A specific gene variant is more frequent among elite athletes in power sports, reports a study in the Oct. issue of The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, official research journal of the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Flame retardant ban reduces exposures in pregnant women
Phasing out the use of potentially harmful flame retardants in furniture foam, electronics and plastics has lowered pregnant women's exposure to the substances, which are associated with health problems in both pregnant women and their newborns.

Torrent frog has advantage attaching to rough, wet surfaces
Torrent frogs use their toes, belly, and thighs to attach to rough, wet, and steep surfaces.

Turning plastic bags into high-tech materials
University of Adelaide researchers have developed a process for turning waste plastic bags into a high-tech nanomaterial.

Study finds link between commonly prescribed statin and memory impairment
New research that looked at whether two commonly prescribed statin medicines, used to lower low-density lipoprotein or 'bad cholesterol' levels in the blood, can adversely affect cognitive function has found that one of the drugs tested caused memory impairment in rats.

New study identifies preferred method to assess patient reactions to radiation therapy
The North Shore-LIJ Health System Department of Radiation Medicine presented a novel study to evaluate the reliability of different systems used by caregivers to assess toxicity for patients receiving radiation therapy.

Improved smartphone microscope brings single-virus detection to remote locations
Scientists are reporting an advance in smartphone-based imaging that could help physicians in far-flung and resource-limited locations monitor how well treatments for infections are working by detecting, for the first time, individual viruses.

Genetic makeup and diet interact with the microbiome to impact health
A Mayo Clinic researcher has shown that an individual's genomic makeup and diet interact to determine which microbes exist and how they act in the host intestine.

'Science in Society: Caring for our Futures in Turbulent Times'
Issues of 'science in society' are not in themselves new, but this new report from the European Science Foundation, called

Zhong-Ping Jiang named a fellow of the International Federation of Automatic Control
Zhong-Ping Jiang of the Polytechnic Institute of New York University has been named a fellow of the International Federation of Automatic Control for his fundamental contributions to nonlinear control theory and design.

Cancer cells propagated from early prostate cancer
A team of cancer researchers at the University of California, San Diego has identified the existence of precursor cells in early prostate cancers.

NSF funds Harvard-led Science and Technology Center for Integrated Quantum Materials
The National Science Foundation recently awarded $20 million to fund a new Science and Technology Center, the Center for Integrated Quantum Materials.

Michigan's Medicaid expansion: A model for pragmatic, bipartisan health reform?
Michigan's newly expanded Medicaid program could act as a model for other states to achieve bipartisan health care reform even in a heated national political climate, says the head of the University of Michigan's health policy institute in an article published online today by the New England Journal of Medicine.

Dams provide resilience to Columbia River basin from climate change impacts
Dams have been vilified for detrimental effects to water quality and fish passage, but a new study suggests that these structures provide

Researchers develop model to study human response to infections that cause peptic ulcers
Virginia Tech esearchers have developed a model that helps scientists and clinicians understand that complex interactions of a type of bacteria that is the leading cause of peptic ulcers.

Ancient soils reveal clues to early life on Earth
Oxygen appeared in the atmosphere up to 700 million years earlier than we previously thought, according to research published today in the journal Nature, raising new questions about the evolution of early life.

EARTH: How Sandy changed storm warnings
Not only was Sandy

Restricting antibiotics could be key to fighting 'superbug'
New ways are needed to fight the infection Clostridium difficile and better use of antibiotics could be key, according to the authors of ground-breaking research.

Why won't she leave him? Abused women often fear for pets left behind
Veterinarians and women's shelters can make it easier for abused women to decide to leave their homes, particularly when the abuser is using a beloved pet as part of a campaign to control his partner, reports a new University of Illinois study.

When the going gets tough, the materialistic go shopping
Materialistic people experience more stress from traumatic events such as terrorist attacks and are more likely to spend compulsively as a result, according to an international study led by a Michigan State University business professor.

Whale mass stranding attributed to sonar mapping for first time
An independent scientific review panel has concluded that the mass stranding of approximately 100 melon-headed whales in the Loza Lagoon system in northwest Madagascar in 2008 was primarily triggered by acoustic stimuli, more specifically, a multi-beam echosounder system operated by a survey vessel contracted by ExxonMobil Exploration and Production (Northern Madagascar) Limited.

Eating fish, nuts may not help thinking skills after all
Contrary to earlier studies, new research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids may not benefit thinking skills.

Recent highlights in Molecular Biology and Evolution
Research from the University of Bath has found a greater number of

Indiana University study shines new light on consequences of preterm births
A new study by Indiana University Bloomington researchers confirms the strong link between preterm birth and the risk of infant and young adult death, autism and ADHD.

Getting an expected award music to the brain's ears
A new study suggests that the auditory cortex does more than just process sound.

Seeing the forest and the trees
A new technique demonstrated in the Sept. issue of Applications in Plant Sciences uses the GigaPan EPIC Pro, a robotic camera system, to create time-lapse sequences of panoramas that allow the viewer to zoom in at an incredible level of detail, e.g., from a landscape view to that of an individual plant.

NASA satellites see Typhoon Pabuk's shrinking eye close
Typhoon Pabuk's eye was clear on visible and infrared NASA satellite imagery on Sept.

Wayne State receives $1.57 million grant to develop enhanced radiation therapy training
With the help of a five-year, $1.57 million grant from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health, researchers at Wayne State University aim to develop an innovative and advanced education program integrating radiobiology with radiation physics for all oncologists.

A first: Stanford engineers build computer using carbon nanotube technology
Silicon chips could soon hit physical limits preventing them from getting smaller and faster.

Global study reveals new hotspots of fish biodiversity
Teeming with species, tropical coral reefs have been long thought to be the areas of greatest biodiversity for fishes and other marine life--and thus most deserving of resources for conservation.

A day in the life of the mysterious odd-clawed spider Progradungula otwayensis
A recent paper published in the open access journal Zookeys provides a first-time glimpse in the natural history of the enigmatic spider species Progradungula otwayensis.

Study shows over 200 mobile apps related to dermatology
A surge in mobile apps related to dermatology has allowed scores of smart phone users to track and diagnose a wide range of skin diseases, but doctors are urging caution, according to a study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Flame retardants in blood drop after state ban
A class of flame retardants that has been linked to learning difficulties in children has rapidly declined in pregnant women's blood since the chemicals were banned in California a decade ago, according to a study led by researchers at UC San Francisco.

Sustainable livestock production is possible
New research out today from the University of Cambridge has identified what may be the future of sustainable livestock production: silvopastoral systems which include shrubs and trees with edible leaves or fruits as well as herbage.

Tiny camera records details of scene without losing sight of the big picture
To capture all the details of a scene, you might take many photos at close range.

China's synthetic gas plants would be greenhouse giants
Coal-powered synthetic natural gas plants being planned in China would produce seven times more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional natural gas plants, and use up to 100 times the water as shale gas production, according to a new study by Duke University researchers.

Fetching faces and friendly foxes
'What is beautiful is good' -- but why? A recent article in The Quarterly Review of Biology provides a compelling physiological explanation for the 'beauty stereotype': why human beings are wired to favor the beautiful ones.

Family Resiliency Center helps study how food-bank clients afford basic non-food items
Many families struggle to afford basic non-food household goods, such as personal care, household, and baby-care products, according to a new nationwide Feed America study that benefited from assistance from the University of Illinois Family Resiliency Center.

With carbon nanotubes, a path to flexible, low-cost sensors
Researchers at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen are showing the way toward low-cost, industrial-scale manufacturing of a new family of electronic devices.

New study offers hope for halting incurable citrus disease
Using DNA sequencing technologies, a research team led by a University of California, Davis, plant scientist has painted a broad picture of how the devastating disease Huonglongbing, or citrus greening, impacts citrus trees before they even show signs of infection. 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