Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (November 2011)

Science news and science current events archive November, 2011.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from November 2011

Both sexism and racism are similar mental processes
Prejudiced attitudes are based on generalized suppositions about certain social groups and could well be a personality trait. Researchers at the University of the Basque Country have confirmed the link between two types of discriminatory behavior: sexism and racism. They also advise of the need for education in encouraging equality.

Hysterectomy increases risk for earlier menopause among younger women
In a finding that confirms what many obstetricians and gynecologists suspected, Duke University researchers report that younger women who undergo hysterectomies face a nearly two-fold increased risk for developing menopause early.

Paying for sex and 'playing dead' - the deceitful gift-giving spider
Male nursery web spiders prepare silk-wrapped gifts to give to potential mates. Most gifts contain insects, but some gifts are inedible plant seeds or empty exoskeletons. Males will also 'play dead' if a female moves away and then attempt to re-establish mating. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology examines the reproductive success of deceitful males and shows that females are not impressed by worthless gifts.

Knocking out key protein in mice boosts insulin sensitivity
By knocking out a key regulatory protein, scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland dramatically boosted insulin sensitivity in lab mice, an achievement that opens a new door for drug development and the treatment of diabetes.

New hope for young leukemia patients?
The development of simple tests to predict a leukemic relapse in young patients is a step closer thanks to researchers from the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center and the University of Montreal.

UNU announces launch of a groundbreaking global university research benchmarking system
The Global Research Benchmarking System, the first international university research benchmarking initiative, debuts on Nov. 23, 2011. The GRBS initiative, a joint effort of the UNU International Institute for Software Technology and the US-based Center for Measuring University Performance, is supported by over 30 contributing organizations from a dozen countries.

Lava fingerprinting reveals differences between Hawaii's twin volcanoes
Hawaii's main volcano chains -- the Loa and Kea trends -- have distinct sources of magma and unique plumbing systems connecting them to the Earth's deep mantle, according to UBC research published this week in Nature Geoscience, in conjunction with researchers at the universities of Hawaii and Massachusetts.

Patients fare just as well if their nonemergency angioplasty is performed at hospitals
Hospitals that do not have cardiac surgery capability can perform nonemergency angioplasty and stent implantation as safely as hospitals that do offer cardiac surgery. That is the finding of the nation's first large, randomized study to assess whether patients do just as well having nonemergency angioplasty performed at smaller, community hospitals that do not offer cardiac surgery.

NASA's Hubble confirms that galaxies are the ultimate recyclers
New observations by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope are expanding astronomers' understanding of the ways in which galaxies continuously recycle immense volumes of hydrogen gas and heavy elements. This process allows galaxies to build successive generations of stars stretching over billions of years.

1 in 5 Americans has hearing loss
Nearly a fifth of all Americans 12 years or older have hearing loss so severe that it may make communication difficult, according to a new study led by Johns Hopkins researchers and published in the Nov. 14 Archives of Internal Medicine. The findings, thought to be the first nationally representative estimate of hearing loss, suggest that many more people than previously thought are affected by this condition.

Targeted antibiotic drug safest among recommended treatments for irritable bowel disease
Among the most commonly used treatments for irritable bowel syndrome -- which affects as many as 20 percent of the United States population -- a targeted antibiotic was shown to be the safest in a new study by Cedars-Sinai researchers, based on an analysis of 26 large-scale clinical trials.

Princeton release: Massive volcanoes, meteorite impacts delivered one-two death punch to dinosaurs
A cosmic one-two punch of colossal volcanic eruptions and meteorite strikes likely caused the mass-extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous period that is famous for killing the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, according to two Princeton University reports that reject the prevailing theory that the extinction was caused by a single large meteorite.

UA scientists find evidence of Roman period megadrought
A new study at the University of Arizona's Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research has revealed a previously unknown multi-decade drought period in the second century A.D. The findings give evidence that extended periods of aridity have occurred at intervals throughout our past.

Depression can lead to heart disease
Depression may have more far-reaching consequences than previously believed. Recent data suggests that individuals who suffer from a mood disorder could be twice as likely to have a heart attack compared to individuals who are not depressed.

NYU Langone expert calls for awareness, research of sudden death in patients with epilepsy
Over time, epileptic seizures can lead to major health issues, including significant cognitive decline and even death, warns Orrin Devinsky, M.D., professor, Departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center.

UofL scientist discovers first known mammalian skull from Late Cretaceous in South America
A finding to be published in Nature provides important new information on the evolution of mammals.

Cancer vaccine impact limited unless drug industry focuses on difficult-to-treat tumors
Drug companies currently developing therapeutic cancer vaccines may be determining the cancers they target based on the number of annual cases, not the number of deaths they cause. This approach may limit the patient benefits of such drugs, according to a new University of Michigan report.

Awards honor excellence in social and personality psychology
Racial prejudice and stereotyping, pay-what-you-want pricing, cross-cultural training -- these are just a few of the research areas of this year's winners of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) annual awards. Each of the recipients has made a unique and significant contribution to understanding the individual and social factors shaping people's personalities, interactions, and behaviors

Senior citizens as co-researchers to improve urban planning
Heavy carrier bags and a lurching bus are an equation that is difficult to solve for most people, but for an elderly person getting the shopping home on public transport can be an almost insurmountable task. A newly launched research project at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, is now enlisting the help of the senior citizens themselves to learn about the challenges in everyday logistics, and it is hoped that the results will lead to better urban planning.

New type of solar cell retains high efficiency for long periods: ACS podcast
A new genre of a new solar cell with high efficiency in converting sunlight into electricity and the durability to last and last is the topic of the latest episode in the American Chemical Society's award-winning

VLBA observations key to 'complete description' of black hole
A precise distance measurement by the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) allowed astronomers to accurately calculate the mass and spin of a famous black hole, thus providing a complete description of the object.

Study debunks stereotype that men think about sex all day long
Men may think about sex more often than women do, but a new study suggests that men also think about other biological needs, such as eating and sleep, more frequently than women do, as well. And the research discredits the persistent stereotype that men think about sex every seven seconds, which would amount to more than 8,000 thoughts about sex in 16 waking hours.

Gelatin-based nanoparticle treatment may be a more effective clot buster
A targeted, nanoparticle gelatin-based clot-busting treatment dissolved significantly more blood clots than a currently used drug in an animal study of acute coronary syndrome presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2011.

A new definition for periprosthetic joint infection
The new definition for PJI, published in the November issue of Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, was developed by a Musculoskeletal Infection Society working group led by Javad Parvizi, M.D., director of Research at the Rothman Institute at Jefferson. The group analyzed available research, much of which was conducted at Jefferson, to develop the new definition and criteria.

Penn and Brown researchers demonstrate earthquake friction effect at the nanoscale
Earthquakes are some of the most daunting natural disasters that scientists try to analyze. Though the earth's major fault lines are well known, there is little scientists can do to predict when an earthquake will occur or how strong it will be. And, though earthquakes involve millions of tons of rock, a team of University of Pennsylvania and Brown University researchers has helped discover an aspect of friction on the nanoscale that may lead to a better understanding of the disasters.

Structural mechanism of southern Chinese traditional timber frame buildings
The structural mechanism of some typical mortise-tenon joints of Chinese southern traditional timber frame buildings were researched, which could provide the scientific basis for the repair of these ancient buildings. The research was published in the journal of Science China.

Using air pollution thresholds to protect and restore ecosystem health
Air pollution is changing our environment and undermining many benefits we rely on from wild lands, threatening water purity, food production, and climate stability, according scientists writing in Issues in Ecology No. 14.

Black elderly more likely than whites to die after intestinal surgery
Black senior citizens who need surgery for the intestinal disorder diverticulitis are significantly more likely to die in the hospital than their equally ill white counterparts, even when each racial group carries the same health insurance, new Johns Hopkins research suggests.

Predators drive the evolution of poison dart frogs' skin patterns
Natural selection has played a role in the development of the many skins patterns of the tiny Ranitomeya imitator poison dart frog.

Results of the PARTNER Trial Cohort B 2-year follow up presented at TCT 2011
A two-year study of patients in the landmark PARTNER trial, which compared transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) in patients who have severe aortic stenosis and are not candidates for open heart surgery, confirm the one-year findings and support the role of TAVR as the standard of care. Trial results were presented today at the 23rd annual Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) scientific symposium, sponsored by the Cardiovascular Research Foundation.

Indevr launches breakthrough colorimetric detection for microarrays using core technology from CU
InDevR, a Boulder-based biotechnology company that develops advanced life science instrumentation and assays for analysis of viruses and other microorganisms, announced today the launch revolutionary new technology for microbiological analysis. ampliPHOX, a colorimetric detection system that incorporates core technology licensed from the University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office, will enhance laboratories around the world by offering a cost effective and easy to use alternative to fluorescence detection.

Worms reveal secrets of wound-healing response
The lowly and simple roundworm may be the ideal laboratory model to learn more about the complex processes involved in repairing wounds and could eventually allow scientists to improve the body's response to healing skin wounds, a serious problem in diabetics and the elderly.

Abstinence-only education does not lead to abstinent behavior, UGA researchers find
States that prescribe abstinence-only sex education programs in public schools have significantly higher teenage pregnancy and birth rates than states with more comprehensive sex education programs, researchers from the University of Georgia have determined.

Good preparation is key -- even for plant cells and symbiotic fungi
Laser capture microdissection provides an insight into the symbiotic program of root cells.

Tamoxifen resistance -- and how to defeat it
In the last three decades, thousands of women with breast cancer have taken the drug tamoxifen, only to discover that the therapy doesn't work, either because their tumors do not respond to the treatment at all, or because they develop resistance to it over time. Now researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) have discovered the molecular basis for tamoxifen resistance and found a potential way to defeat it.

Minorities pay more for water and sewer
Racial minorities pay systemically more for basic water and sewer services than white people, according to a study by Michigan State University researchers.

Highly selective catalyst developed for ring-closing olefin metathesis
Research conducted at Boston College, in collaboration with researchers at MIT and the University of Oxford, has produced an efficient and highly selective catalyst for ring closing olefin metathesis, one of the most widely used methods to access biologically active molecules.

Major project to implement new treatments to boost kala-azar elimination strategies
A comprehensive four-year project including over 10,000 patients in clinical and pharmacovigilance studies for diagnosis and treatment of visceral leishmaniasis (VL, also known as kala-azar) in India and Bangladesh was launched by an international consortium formed last month to support control and elimination strategies in both countries, where the concentration of disease burden is among the world's highest.

Counting cats: The endangered snow leopards of the Himalayas
The elusive snow leopard lives high in the mountains across Central Asia. Despite potentially living across 12 countries the actual numbers of this beautiful large cat are largely unknown. New research published in BioMed Central's open-access journal BMC Research Notes has used genetic analysis to show that the numbers of snow leopards in the central Himalayas is actually much lower than suggested.

Heart rate recovery predicts clinical worsening in pulmonary hypertension
Heart rate recovery at one minute after a six-minute walking distance test is highly predictive of clinical worsening and time to clinical worsening in patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension, according to a new study.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers unravel biochemical factor important in tumor metastasis
A protein called

How to decide who keeps the car
A paper published in Nature Communications by a team of researchers from Canada and Switzerland explores the concept of coin flipping in the context of quantum physics that uses light particles, so-called photons, to allow communication tasks in a manner that outperforms standard communication schemes.

Castles in the desert - satellites reveal lost cities of Libya
The fall of Gaddafi lifts the veil on archaeological treasures.

Individual CO2 emissions decline in old age
New demographic analysis reveals that the CO2 emissions of the average American increase until around the age of 65, and then start to decrease. For the United States this means that, although the aging of the population will lead to a slight overall rise in CO2 emissions over the next four decades, the long-term trends indicate that increasing life expectancy will result in a reduction in emissions.

Canadian universities adopt JoVE, an innovative method of scientific communication
Twenty-two percent of Canadian research universities now subscribe to the Journal of Visualized Experiments, due to its growing popularity among faculty and students.

Bacteria responsible for common infections may protect themselves by stealing immune molecules
Bacteria responsible for middle ear infections, pink eye and sinusitis protect themselves from further immune attack by transporting molecules meant to destroy them away from their inner membrane target, according to a study from Nationwide Children's Hospital. The study, published in the November issue of PLoS Pathogens, is the first to describe a transporter system that bacteria use to ensure their survival.

Butterfly wings inspire design of water-repellent surface
Researchers mimic the many-layered nanostructure of blue mountain swallowtail wings to make a silicon wafer that traps both air and light.

Probiotic protects intestine from radiation injury
Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that taking a probiotic before radiation therapy can protect the intestine from damage -- at least in mice. Their study suggests that taking a probiotic also may help cancer patients avoid intestinal injury, a common problem in those receiving radiation therapy for abdominal cancers.

Higher petrol taxes don't hurt the poor
Increased petrol taxation is a very effective instrument to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A common argument against such a measure is that it hits poor people the hardest. Yet a new study by researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden -- the largest ever of its kind -- shows that it is middle- and high-income earners who are generally affected the most by petrol taxes, especially in poor countries.

Study finds voters concerned with privacy in US elections
Voters in their neighborhood's political minority feel 30 percent less confident in the privacy of their ballot. The concern is that the machines let other people see how you vote.

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