Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (April 2011)

Science news and science current events archive April, 2011.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from April 2011

Ends of chromosomes protected by stacked, coiled DNA caps
Researchers are delving into the details of the complex structure at the ends of chromosomes. Recent work, e-published in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology last month, describes how these structures, called telomeres, can be protected by caps made up of specialized proteins and stacks of DNA called G-quadruplexes, or

NJIT professor develops a biologically inspired catalyst, an active yet inert material
NJIT Associate Professor Sergiu M. Gorun is leading a research team to develop biologically-inspired catalysis active, yet inert, materials. The work is based on organic catalytic framework made sturdy by the replacement of carbon-hydrogen bonds with a combination of aromatic and aliphatic carbon-fluorine bonds. Graduate students involved with this research recently received first place recognition at the annual NJIT Dana Knox student research showcase.

Surveys confirm enormous value of science museums, 'free choice' learning
One of the first studies of its type has confirmed that a science museum can strongly influence the public's knowledge and attitudes about science and technology, and to a surprising degree can cut across racial, ethnic, educational and economic barriers.

Your flaws are my pain
Today, there is increasing exposure of individuals to a public audience. Television shows and the internet provide platforms for this and, at times, allow observing others' flaws and norm transgressions. Regardless of whether the person observed realizes their flaw or not, observers in the audience experience vicarious embarrassment.

Measles outbreak underscores need for continued vigilance in health care settings
In 2008, the largest reported health care-associated measles outbreak in the United States since 1989 occurred in Tucson, Ariz., costing approximately $800,000 in response and containment efforts. In a report published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases and now available online, researchers identify preventive measures hospitals and health care facilities can implement to reduce the likelihood and decrease the economic impact of a future measles outbreak in these settings.

Relationship violence reported by young women linked to overly controlling male partner
For women, having a male partner who exhibits controlling behaviors such as limiting contact with friends and insisting on knowing one's whereabouts at all times, may be associated with increased physical and sexual relationship violence. However, young women experiencing these behaviors are more hesitant to answer questions about relationship violence -- a fact that presents challenges for health-care providers and others seeking to assist woman who are at risk.

Anti-inflammatory drugs reduce effectiveness of SSRI antidepressants
A study in mice and in a human population shows that use of anti-inflammatory drugs reduces the effectiveness of SSRIs, the most widely used class of antidepressant medications.

John Theurer Cancer Center first in New Jersey to offer complete capabilities of Provenge
The John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical is the only cancer center in New Jersey where advanced prostate cancer patients can receive a cell collection process and infusion of Provenge (Sipuleucel-T). Now, patients can find the complete capabilities of this breakthrough immunotherapy in one center led by one physician.

Scientists develop new technology for stroke rehabilitation
Devices which could be used to rehabilitate the arms and hands of people who have experienced a stroke have been developed by researchers at the University of Southampton.

Does seeing overweight people make us eat more?
Consumers will choose and eat more indulgent food after they see someone who is overweight -- unless they consciously think about their health goals, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

From the beginning, the brain knows the difference between night and day
The brain is apparently programmed from birth to develop the ability to determine sunrise and sunset, according to new research on circadian rhythms that research sheds new light on brain plasticity and may explain some basic human behaviors.

New target structure for antidepressants on the horizon?
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry in Munich have compared the genomes of a total of 4,088 patients and 11,001 healthy control subjects from all over the world and identified a new risk gene variant for depression.

Scripps Research scientists find 'dual switch' regulates fat formation
New research by scientists at the Scripps Research Institute and collaborating institutions has identified a key regulator of fat cell development that may provide a target for obesity and diabetes drugs.

EARTH: Tracking trace elements and isotopes in the oceans
Last fall, EARTH caught up with geochemistry grad student Jeremy Jacquot as he was about to embark on the first US-led GEOTRACES cruise across the Atlantic, where he and 32 researchers were hoping to measure and track concentrations of various trace elements and isotopes. This month, in

Researchers identify genes causing antimalarial drug resistance
Using a pair of powerful genome-search techniques, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), Harvard University, and the Broad Institute have identified several genes that may be implicated in the malaria parasite's notorious ability to rapidly evade drug treatments.

4 new genes identified for Alzheimer's disease risk
Mount Sinai School of Medicine researchers are part of a consortium that has identified four new genes that when present increase the risk of a person developing Alzheimer's disease later in life. The findings appear in the current issue of Nature Genetics. The consortium also contributed to the identification of a fifth gene reported by other groups of investigators from the United States and Europe.

Better lasers for optical communications
A new laser procedure could boost optical fiber communications. This technique could become essential for the future expansion of the Internet. It also opens up new frontiers in basic research.

Zeroing in on the elusive green LED
Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a new method for manufacturing green LEDs with greatly enhanced light output. Led by Professor Christian Wetzel, the research team etched a nanoscale pattern at the interface between the LED's sapphire base and the layer of gallium nitride (GaN) that gives the LED its green color. Overall, the new technique results in green LEDs with significant enhancements in light extraction, internal efficiency, and light output.

Laser printing speeds parts on demand to manufacturers
Pull into the auto repair shop with a smashed bumper, and there's no wait while they order a replacement. Instead, the technician downloads specifications from the manufacturer's database. You both watch as a laser beam probing a container of liquid plastic material almost magically builds a new bumper inch by inch.

Antibiotic may prove beneficial to preterm infant lung health
A study performed by University of Kentucky researchers shows promise for the use of azithromycin in treating Ureaplasma-colonized or infected premature infants to prevent bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD).

1 drug, many targets: Is this the future?
Potential molecular targets of the anti-HIV drug nelfinavir have been identified, and may explain why the drug is also effective as a cancer therapy. Findings will be published in the open-access journal PLoS Computational Biology on April 28, 2011.

Improvements in embryonic preimplantation genetic screening techniques
A short comparative genomic hybridization method has been developed to carry out preimplantation genetic screening by analyzing all chromosomes and transferring selected embryos to the recipient uterus in the same in vitro fertilization cycle. The technique developed is the result of a doctoral thesis by Mariona Rius, member of the research team belonging to the Cell Biology and Medical Genetics Unit of the Department of Cell Biology, Physiology and Immunology at UAB.

18th International Academy of Astronautics Humans in Space Symposium
The 18th International Academy of Astronautics Humans in Space Symposium, hosted by the University of Houston and NASA, comes to Houston's Westin Galleria Hotel, April 11-15 to consider

Patient's journey format drives new edition of vital student nurse manual
The eighth student edition of

Statins may protect against kidney complications following elective surgery
Taking a statin before having major elective surgery reduces potentially serious kidney complications, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology (JASN).

Scripps Research scientists find E. coli enzyme must move to function
Slight oscillations lasting just milliseconds have a huge impact on an enzyme's function, according to a new study by Scripps Research Institute scientists. Blocking these movements, without changing the enzyme's overall structure or any of its other properties, renders the enzyme defective in carrying out chemical reactions.

The watched pot and fast CMEs
If you've ever stood in front of a hot stove, watching a pot of water and waiting impatiently for it to boil, you know what it feels like to be a solar physicist. News flash: The pot is starting to boil. As 2011 unfolds, sunspots have returned and they are crackling with activity. On February 15 and again on March 9, Earth orbiting satellites detected a pair of

Americans' views of college access varied, often inflated
An Indiana University study found that many Americans had inflated views of minority students' opportunities to attend college, yet a large contingent -- around 43 percent of people surveyed -- believed that low income students had fewer opportunities. The study found that Americans have varying beliefs when it comes to college access. Researchers say these perceptions -- or misperceptions -- could affect educational policy and whether someone even attempts to attend college.

Data catches up with theory: Ocean front is energetic contributor to mixing
Wind blowing on the ocean is a crucial factor mixing carbon dioxide into the ocean depths and keeping it from going back into the atmosphere. For more than two decades scientists have suspected there's another -- possibly substantial -- source of energy for mixing that's generated where cold, heavy water collides with warm, light water. However, there's never been a way to get enough measurements of such a

Potassium channel gene modifies risk for epilepsy
Vanderbilt University researchers have identified a new gene that can influence a person's risk for developing epilepsy. The findings, reported in the March 29 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could improve molecular diagnostic tools and point to novel therapeutic targets for epilepsy.

'SKIP'-ing splicing forces tumor cells to undergo programmed cell death
When cells find themselves in a tight spot, the cell cycle regulator p21 halts the cell cycle, buying cells time to repair the damage, or if all else fails, to initiate programmed cell death. In contrast to other stress-induced genes, which dispense with the regular transcriptional entourage, p21Cip1 still requires SKIP, a transcription elongation factor that also helps with the editing of transcripts, to be expressed, found researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

Tai chi may improve quality of life in chronic heart failure patients
Tai chi, the ancient Chinese meditative exercise, may improve quality of life, mood and exercise self-efficacy in chronic heart failure patients, according to research led by a team at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Study of deer mice on California's Channel Islands provides new information on hantavirus
This study shows that just three ecological factors -- rainfall, predator diversity and island size and shape -- can account for nearly all the differences in infection rates between the eight islands. The study also provides some of the first evidence to support a recent hypothesis that predators play an important ecological role in regulating disease -- sometimes known as the

Pier review
On Oct. 5, 2010, the historic Hastings Pier was set on fire, destroying 95 percent of the Grade II listed building, leading to concerns over its future. Now scientists from the UK's National Physical Laboratory are helping to show that the future of the pier is more positive than expected.

Drinking energy beverages mixed with alcohol may be riskier than drinking alcohol alone
A new laboratory study compares the effects of alcohol alone versus alcohol mixed with an energy drink on a cognitive task, as well as participants' reports of feelings of intoxication. Results show that energy drinks can enhance the feeling of stimulation that occurs when drinking alcohol.

NSF awards grant to University of Houston professor to develop color-coded MRIs
The NSF has awarded a grant to a University of Houston professor who is working on a developing a new class of contrasting agents that provide color to MRI images for the first time.

Wayne State leads study to improve management of cancer pain in African Americans
Nearly all patients with advanced cancer experience severe pain, and almost half of all other cancer patients have some pain, regardless of the type or stage of the disease. Pain often limits a patient's daily activities and causes distress. A new study, led by Wayne State University's College of Nursing and funded by a three-year, $1,078,000 award from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health, aims to improve the care of African Americans with cancer pain.

NYU Cancer Institute experts present at the AACR 102nd Annual Meeting 2011
Experts from the Cancer Institute at NYU Langone Medical Center presented new research findings at the American Association for Cancer Research 102nd Annual Meeting 2011 held April 2-6, 2011 in Orlando, Fla., NYU Cancer Institute researchers discussed various breakthroughs such as a novel test for early-stage asbestos-related pulmonary cancer, a promising treatment strategy for glioblastomas, genome-wide mapping of nickel-related cancer and greater understanding of melanoma and bladder cancer.

Emory AIDS pioneerhonored with national award
James W. Curran, M.D., M.P.H., dean of Emory's Rollins School of Public Health, has been selected as the 2011 recipient of the Ryan White Distinguished Leadership Award.

Dietary yeast extracts tested as alternative to antibiotics in poultry
A dietary yeast extract could be an effective alternative to antibiotics for poultry producers, according to a US Department of Agriculture study. Microbiologist Gerry Huff with USDA's Agricultural Research Service in Fayetteville, Ark., and her colleagues have been studying the effects of yeast extract as an immune stimulant and alternative to antibiotics in conventional turkeys. Non-pharmaceutical remedies and preventatives are particularly needed for organic poultry production.

Seeing rice with X-rays may improve crop yields
Most people experience X-ray computed tomography (CT) scanners when they are evaluated for a suspected tumor or blood clot. But in the lab of Dr. Quin Liu, Ph.D., in Wuhan China, rice plants were the patients in a novel use of CT scanners as part of an agriculture study to increase rice yield.

How the bilingual brain copes with aging
Older bilingual adults compensate for age-related declines in brainpower by developing new strategies to process language, according to a recent study published in the journal Aging, Neuropsychology and Cognition.

Climate change threatens global security, warn medical and military leaders
Medical and military leaders have come together today to warn that climate change not only spells a global health catastrophe, but also threatens global stability and security.

Substance in tangerines fights obesity and protects against heart disease
New research from the University of Western Ontario has discovered a substance in tangerines not only prevents obesity, but also offers protection against type 2 diabetes, and even atherosclerosis, the underlying disease responsible for most heart attacks and strokes. Murray Huff, a vascular biology scientist at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry studied the effects of a flavonoid in tangerines called Nobiletin. His research is published online in the journal Diabetes.

Louisiana Tech researcher presents on eco-friendly nanotechnology at national conference
Dr. Yuri Lvov, professor of chemistry and T.C. Pipes endowed chair in micro and nanosystems at Louisiana Tech University, recently led a symposium at the 241st Conference of the American Chemical Society (ACS), discussing his application of a more eco-friendly and cost-effective nano-material that can be used to significantly improve the properties of plastics, paints and other synthetic composites.

Louisiana Tech University students receive NSF Graduate Research Fellowships
Louis Reis, a Louisiana Tech University biomedical and electrical engineering student, and Mark Wade, a recent summa cum laude graduate in electrical engineering and physics and current graduate student at Tech, have each been awarded Graduate Research Fellowships from the National Science Foundation.

UBC recognizes 2 Canadian medical researchers with $50,000 prizes
Two of Canada's most eminent health researchers -- Dr. Jacques Genest at McGill University and Dr. Michael Hayden at the University of British Columbia -- have been awarded the inaugural Margolese National Brain and Heart Disorders Prizes, the most lucrative prizes bestowed by UBC.

Pulse oximetry training video by BMC anesthesiologist published in NEJM
A pulse oximetry training video produced by Rafael Ortega, M.D., the vice-chair of academic affairs for the department of anesthesiology at Boston Medical Center and professor of anesthesiology at Boston University School of Medicine, and his colleagues is featured in this week's New England Journal of Medicine.

Virtual surgery shows promise in personalized treatment of nasal obstruction
A preliminary report suggests that virtual nasal surgery has the potential to be a productive tool that may enable surgeons to perform personalized nasal surgery using computer simulation techniques, according to a report posted online today that will appear in the September print issue of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Hair styles may contribute to scarring hair loss in African-American women
Hair grooming practices, such as braids and weaves, as well as inflammation in the form of bacterial infection, may be contributing to the development of scarring hair loss in African American women, according to a report posted online today that will appear in the August print issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

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