Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (September 2010)

Science news and science current events archive September, 2010.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from September 2010

Metal-mining bacteria are green chemists
Microbes could soon be used to convert metallic wastes into high-value catalysts for generating clean energy, say scientists writing in the September issue of Microbiology.

Team led by Scripps Research scientist identifies new gene for memory
A team led by a Scripps Research Institute scientist has for the first time identified a new gene that is required for memory formation in Drosophila, the common fruit fly. The gene may have similar functions in humans, shedding light on neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease or human learning disabilities.

Sight-saving research halted by stem cell ruling
The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology has released a statement that expresses opposition to the Federal District Court injunction that froze federal funding for human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research. ARVO supports technological developments and policies that encourage all facets of stem cell research, including research utilizing hESCs.

EU should act together and avoid confrontation given the economic boom of China
The European Union has gone from observing the economic expansion of China to considering it as a threat, according to the Ph.D. thesis presented by Andoni Maiza at the University of the Basque Country.

Depressed medical students more likely to associate stigma with depression
Medical students with moderate to severe depression more frequently endorsed several depression stigma attitudes than nondepressed students and had a higher rate of suicidal thoughts, according to a study in the Sept. 15 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on medical education.

Modern Muslims use dreams to make major life decisions
The traditional practice of using night dreams to make major life decisions is in widespread use among modern Muslims, reveals a new study whose author is speaking at the British Science Festival on Thursday, Sept. 16.

Inner voice plays role in self-control
Talking to yourself might not be a bad thing, especially when it comes to exercising self control.

Physicians beware: Cholesterol counts in kidney disease patients
To understand the health effects of high cholesterol levels, doctors first need to assess malnutrition and inflammation status in their chronic kidney disease patients, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

Scientists shed light on process that shapes illness in later life
Scientists hope to gain insights into a range of age-related ailments, such as dementia, by examining the behavior of proteins thought to trigger the conditions.

Scholarly look at Lukens Steel, 1810-1925, garners award for NJIT author
Carol S. Johnson, Ph.D., an associate professor in NJIT's Department of Humanities, has won the 2010 National Council of Teachers of English Award in Technical and Scientific Communication in the category of Best Book in Technical or Scientific Communication for

Microsoft Excel-based algorithm predicts cancer prognosis
Using readily available computer programs, researchers have developed a system to identify genes that will be useful in the classification of breast cancer. The algorithm, described in BioMed Central's open access Journal of Experimental and Clinical Cancer Research will enable researchers to quickly generate valuable gene signatures without specialized software or extensive bioinformatics training.

NYU researchers identify new neurological deficit behind lazy eye
Researchers at New York University's Center for Neural Science have identified a new neurological deficit behind amblyopia, or

Studies show improved patient tolerance for unsedated colonoscopy using novel water method
The October issue of GIE: Gastrointestinal Endoscopy features the results of two randomized controlled trials of unsedated colonoscopy comparing water infusion vs. air insufflation to distend the colon. Both studies showed that patient tolerance with the water method during unsedated colonoscopy was greater than with air insufflation and enhanced patient willingness to undergo a repeat unsedated exam; however, the cecal intubation and adenoma detection rates varied somewhat between the two studies.

Novartis and collaborators discover novel antimalarial drug candidate
Published this week in Science the findings demonstrate that the antimalarial candidate, spiroindolone NITD609, is effective against both strains of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium (P.) falciparum and P. vivax. Through a novel mechanism NITD609 rapidly clears plasmodium in a malaria mouse model and shows pharmacological properties compatible with a once-daily dosing regimen.

Cardiff University ecologist snaps up 2 photography prizes
Cardiff University's Adam Seward has snapped up two out of the five categories in this year's British Ecological Society photographic competition. Adam's winning photographs were taken on Fair Isle, Britain's most remote inhabited island.

URI professor warns: TV viewing likely to make you fear sickness
Watching television and its heavy dose of medical content in news and drama can lead to more concern about personal health and reduce a person's satisfaction with life according to a new study out of the University of Rhode Island.

Interviews bring genetics to life in new book
A new book,

University of Illinois receives $1.2 million grant to accelerate feedstocks research
A $1.2 million US Department of Energy grant will help University of Illinois researchers accelerate genetic breeding programs to create plants better suited for bioenergy production.

Gene network reveals link between fats and heart disease signs
A gene network behind hardening of the arteries and coronary heart disease has been identified by a team of scientists from Australia, Europe and the United Kingdom. Their findings expose potential targets for the treatment of heart disease.

Teenagers are more sedentary on weekends
The new school year has started and the school routine is back. A European study led by Spanish researchers has shown how the proportion of young people who watch television and play on the computer for more than two hours per day doubles on the weekend. And while boys opt for video games, teenage girls prefer to surf the net.

NASA satellites reveal surprising connection between beetle attacks, wildfire
If your summer travels have taken you across the Rocky Mountains, you've probably seen large swaths of reddish trees dotting otherwise green forests. While it may look like autumn has come early to the mountains, evergreen trees don't change color with the seasons. The red trees are dying, the result of attacks by mountain pine beetles.

Study links shorter sleep durations with greater risks of mental distress in young adults
Results show a linear association between sleep durations of less than eight hours and psychological distress in young adults between 17 and 24 years of age. The risk of psychological distress increased by 14 percent for each hour of nightly sleep loss. Those sleeping less than six hours a night were twice as likely to be experiencing distress as average sleepers. Long sleep durations of more than nine hours showed no association with distress.

NIST researchers hear puzzling new physics from graphene quartet's quantum harmonies
Using a one-of-a-kind instrument designed and built at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, researchers have discovered an unexpected and tantalizing set of energy levels in graphene, a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon with potentially revolutionary electronic properties, when the material is exposed to extremely low temperatures and extremely high magnetic fields.

Present imperfect: Doctors in training work even when ill
Three out of five residents surveyed came to work while sick, possibly exposing their patients and colleagues to suboptimal performance and communicable disease. One out of three did so more than once. At one hospital, 100 percent of residents worked when sick. More than half of resident physicians surveyed said they didn't have time to see a doctor.

Human clinical trial of DNA-MVA HIV vaccine candidate begins
A Phase I study, called RV262, recently began to evaluate a combination DNA prime/MVA vector boost vaccine regimen that was developed to protect against diverse subtypes of HIV-1 prevalent in North America, Europe, Africa and South America.

Subseafloor observatories installed to run dynamic experiments
Marine geologists have returned from two months at sea off British Columbia, Canada, where they installed two observatories in the ocean floor to run innovative experiments at the bottom of the sea.

Possible alternate therapy for adults with poorly controlled asthma
A drug commonly used for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease successfully treats adults whose asthma is not well controlled on low doses of inhaled corticosteroids, reported researchers supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health.

University Hospitals Case Medical Center implements AutoLITT system for treatment of brain tumors
University Hospitals Case Medical Center is offering new hope for patients with inoperable brain tumors or lesions previously diagnosed as untreatable through a revolutionary technology called AutoLITT which

Mining the 'wisdom of crowds' to attack disease
A large, multidisciplinary panel has recently selected 12 pioneering ideas for attacking type 1 diabetes, ideas selected through a

Cardiac Cath Lab Director
Cardiac Cath Lab Director is a new bimonthly journal being launched in February 2011 by SAGE, the world's leading independent academic and professional publisher. It is the official journal of the Alliance of Cardiovascular Professionals.

Caltech receives $10 million in gifts to help launch new terrestrial hazard center
Caltech has established the Terrestrial Hazard Observation and Reporting Center, funded by $6.7 million from Foster and Coco Stanback, and $3.35 million from the Gordon and Betty Moore matching program.

How does Prozac act? By acting on the microRNA
The adaptation mechanisms of the neurons to antidepressants has, until now, remained enigmatic. Research, published this week by teams of Odile Kellermann and of Jean-Marie Launay (Inserm, Paris), sheds new light on the mechanisms of action of these drugs which have been used for more than 30 years and are heavily consumed.

Quarks 'swing' to the tones of random numbers
Quarks are found in protons and are bound together by forces which cause all other known forces of nature to fade. To understand the effects of these strong forces between the quarks is one of the greatest challenges in modern particle physics. New theoretical results from the Niels Bohr Institute show that enormous quantities of random numbers can describe the way quarks

Sneaking spies into a cell's nucleus
Duke University bioengineers have not only figured out a way to sneak molecular spies through the walls of individual cells, they can now slip them into the command center -- or nucleus -- of those cells, where they can report back important information or drop off payloads.

Memory problems more common in men?
A new study shows that mild cognitive impairment may affect more men than women. The research is published in the Sept. 7, 2010, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Dancing robot swan triggers emotions
The swan robot's just-over-four-minute-long dance has so far been seen only by a select few. But it has already made a big impression. Tearful eyes and words like

Research!America releases vaccines fact sheet
Research!America is highlighting the vital importance of vaccines with a new fact sheet in its Investment in Research Saves Lives and Money series. CDC recently reported that routine vaccination rates are increasing among teens aged 13-17, but for many diseases the vaccination rates are far below the CDC's recommended 90 percent mark. With kids heading back to school and flu season fast approaching, now is a good time to remind readers of the importance of vaccines and disease prevention.

Commercial-scale test of new technology to recover coal from sludge successful
A new technology for removing water from ultrafine coal slurry has been successfully tested at the commercial scale at an operating coal cleaning plant. The technology offers the possibility of reducing the coal slurry impoundment problem from the source.

Spinal muscular atrophy research team receives Pepsi Refresh funds from Sophia's Cure Foundation
Brian Kaspar, Ph.D., principal investigator in the Center for Gene Therapy at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, along with a team of Spinal Muscular Atrophy researchers and clinicians, recently received a $250,000 grant for SMA research and clinic development from Sophia's Cure Foundation via the Pepsi Refresh Project.

US Surgeon General, GE Chairman/CEO, 41 other national health care experts to gather in Seattle
Insurance reform alone won't solve the nation's health-care crisis. Real solutions will also require dramatically changing the way health care is delivered. To help providers, business leaders and policy makers from different parts of the country learn more about what local communities are doing, Swedish is hosting a national symposium in Seattle Oct. 11-12 titled

NYU Langone Medical Center receives NIH Director's Transformative Research Projects award
The National Institutes of Health announced today that Martin J. Blaser, M.D., the Frederick H. King Professor of Internal Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center has been awarded one of only 20 NIH Director's Transformative Research Projects award for research titled

University of Arizona-led group awarded $9.9 million to develop 'super rice'
Scientists seek to develop a rice strain that is better capable of withstanding drought and poorer soils and produces higher yields than current forms of domesticated rice.

European partnership funds research toward robot aides for the elderly
A partnership among 20 European states, the European Union and a number of private enterprises has launched a three-year, 3.87 million euro project to make robots capable of serving as adaptable, interactive, and safe assistants for elderly people. The ALIAS research project, associated with the CoTeSys (Cognition for Technical Systems) excellence cluster, places special emphasis on maintaining social networks, warding off feelings of loneliness and isolation, and increasing activities that may protect and enhance cognitive capabilities.

Study examines association between urban living and psychotic disorders
The association between psychotic disorders and living in urban areas appears to be a reflection of increased social fragmentation present within cities, according to a report in the September issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Researchers define role of CEP290 in maintaining ciliary function
A new study in the Sept. 6 issue of the Journal of Cell Biology helps define the role of an important ciliary protein, CEP290. The results could be applied toward targeted gene therapy in cilia-related diseases.

In order to save biodiversity society's behavior must change, leading conservationists warn
An innovative grouping of conservation scientists and practitioners have come together to advocate a fundamental shift in the way we view biodiversity. In their paper, which was published today in the journal Science, they argue that unless people recognize the link between their consumption choices and biodiversity loss, the diversity of life on Earth will continue to decline.

What's causing life-threatening blood clots in brain surgery patients?
One of the most severe complications of brain surgery is a pulmonary embolism. But a study in the Journal of Neurosurgery suggests that screening methods used to access the risk of pulmonary embolisms may fall short.

Cockroach brains could be rich stores of new antibiotics
Cockroaches could be more of a health benefit than a health hazard according to scientists from the University of Nottingham.

Children under 4 and children with autism don't yawn contagiously
A new study found that most children don't yawn contagiously until about age 4, and that children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are less likely to yawn in response to another person yawning that children without autism. The study evaluated 120 typically developing 1- to 6-year-olds and approximately 30 6- to 15-year-olds with ASD.

TGen/Mayo Clinic/Arizona Cancer Center study finds gene associated with aggressive skin cancer
The loss of a gene known as INPP5A could predict the onset, and track the progression, of an aggressive type of skin cancer, according to a study published today by the Arizona Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic and the Translational Genomics Research Institute.

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