Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (August 2011)

Science news and science current events archive August, 2011.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from August 2011

New drug shows promise in treating patients with ovarian cancer, even in those without BRCA mutations
The PARP inhibitor, olaparib, that has shown promise in women with an inherited mutation in their BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene (accounting for about 5-10 percent of breast and ovarian cancer cases), has, for the first time, been shown to reduce the size of tumors in a much wider group of ovarian cancer patients without these BRCA gene mutations.

Vanderbilt researchers, international team, uncover genes linked to multiple sclerosis
An international team of scientists, including investigators from Vanderbilt University Medical Center's Center for Human Genetics Research, has identified 29 new genetic variants linked to multiple sclerosis, providing key insights into the biology of an important and very debilitating neurological disease.

B-cell discovery suggests why women suffer more autoimmune disease
Researchers at National Jewish Health report the discovery of a new type of cell that, makes autoantibodies, which attack the body's own tissues. It is more common in elderly female mice and humans with autoimmune disease. National Jewish Health has applied for a patent for a method to treat autoimmune disease by depleting these cells.

What's really in that luscious chocolate aroma?
The mouth-watering aroma of roasted cocoa beans -- key ingredient for chocolate -- emerges from substances that individually smell like potato chips, cooked meat, peaches, raw beef fat, human sweat, earth and an improbable palate of other distinctly un-cocoa-like aromas. That's among the discoveries emerging from an effort to identify the essential aroma and taste ingredients in the world's favorite treat, described here today at the 242nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

Fulmer wins GSA's 2011 Doris Schwartz Gerontological Nursing Research Award
The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) -- the nation's largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging -- has chosen Terry Fulmer, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, of New York University (NYU) as the 2011 recipient of the Doris Schwartz Gerontological Nursing Research Award.

Fishing games gone wrong
When an egg cell is being formed, the cellular machinery which separates chromosomes is extremely imprecise at fishing them out of the cell's interior, scientists at EMBL Heidelberg have discovered. The findings, published in Cell, could explain why errors in the number of chromosomes in the egg cell are the leading cause of miscarriages and severe congenital diseases like Down's syndrome, as well as causing female infertility.

Nature reaches for the high-hanging fruit
In the first study of its kind, researchers have used tools of paleontology to gain new insights into the diversity of natural plant chemicals. They have shown that during the evolution of these compounds nature doesn't settle for the

Lower socioeconomic status linked with heart disease despite improvements in other risk factor
People with lower socioeconomic status are much more likely to develop heart disease than those who are wealthier or better educated, according to a recent UC Davis study.

Milk better than water to rehydrate kids: McMaster study
Children become dehydrated during exercise, and it's important they get enough fluids, particularly before going into a second round of a game. Milk is better than either a sports drink or water because it is a source of high quality protein, carbohydrates, calcium and electrolytes.

Scented laundry products emit hazardous chemicals through dryer vents
The researcher who used chemical sleuthing to uncover what's in scented products now has turned her attention to the air wafting from household laundry vents. Air from laundry machines using the top-selling scented liquid detergent and dryer sheet contains hazardous chemicals, including two that are classified as carcinogens.

Man in the moon looking younger
Earth's Moon could be younger than previously thought. The prevailing theory of our Moon's origin is that it was created by a giant impact between a large planet-like object and the proto-Earth. The Moon formed from melted material that was ejected into space. Analysis of lunar rock samples thought to have been derived from the original magma has given scientists a new estimate of the Moon's age.

Saffron shows promise in preventing liver cancer
New research suggests that saffron provides a significant chemopreventive effect against liver cancer in animal models. When saffron was administered to rats with diethylnitrosamine (DEN)-induced liver cancer an inhibition of cell proliferation and stimulation of apoptosis was observed. Full findings appear in the September issue of Hepatology, a journal published by Wiley Blackwell on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

Malaysian nursing students to benefit from adaptation of Baillière's nurses' dictionary
Elsevier, a leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services announced today that nursing students in Malaysia can look forward to better understanding medical terms with the adaptation of the popular Baillière's Nurses' Dictionary. The Malaysian edition features dual language definitions where the first section of the dictionary provides Bahasa Malaysia definitions and the second section provides definitions in English.

University of Virginia researchers uncover new catalysis site
A new collaborative study at the University of Virginia details for the first time a new type of catalytic site where oxidation catalysis occurs, shedding new light on the inner workings of the process.

MARC Travel Awards announced for the ASBMR 2011 Annual meeting
FASEB MARC (Minority Access to Research Careers) Program has announced the travel award recipients for The American Society for Bone & Mineral Research (ASBMR) 2011 Annual Meeting in San Diego, Calif., from September 16-20, 2011. These awards are meant to promote the entry of underrepresented minority students, postdoctorates and scientists into the mainstream of the basic science community and to encourage the participation of young scientists at the ASBMR 2011 Annual Meeting.

Ferrucci to receive GSA's 2011 Joseph T. Freeman Award
The Gerontological Society of America -- the nation's largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging -- has chosen Luigi Ferrucci, M.D., Ph.D., of the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health as the 2011 recipient of the Joseph T. Freeman Award.

Farming commercial miscanthus
An article in the current issue of Global Change Biology Bioenergy examines the carbon sequestration potential of Miscanthus plantations on commercial farms. Researchers evaluated Miscanthus plantations in Ireland, where planting has been subsidized by the government. Carbon sequestration is expected to vary among different farming practices and soil characteristics.

Outbreak C. difficile strain common in Chicago hospitals, investigation finds
An outbreak strain of Clostridium difficile, a bacterium that causes diarrhea and sometimes life-threatening inflammation of the colon, is common in Chicago-area acute care hospitals, an investigation published in the September issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, suggests.

Cholesterial drugs can reduce the risk of stroke, but aren't for everyone
For many patients, cholesterol-lowering statin drugs can reduce the risk of strokes as well as heart attacks. But in a review article, Loyola University Health System neurologists caution that statins may not be appropriate for certain categories of patients who are at-risk for stroke.

Fragile Earth International Conference
This conference provides an international platform for research on global geodynamic processes and plate motion, regional plate boundary processes and their associated resources (e.g., oil, gas and geothermal energy), and on dynamics of fault networks and magmatic systems with their associated hazards (e.g., earthquakes and volcanic eruptions).

Notre Dame astrophysicists identify missing fuel for galactic star formation
A new study by University of Notre Dame astrophysicists concludes that the Milky Way will have the fuel to continue forming stars, thanks to massive clouds of ionized gas raining down from its halo and intergalactic space.

Six new genetic variants linked to type 2 diabetes discovered in South Asians
An international team of researchers led by Imperial College London has identified six new genetic variants associated with type-2 diabetes in South Asians.

NIH-commissioned study identifies gaps in NIH funding success rates for black researchers
Black scientists were significantly less likely than their white counterparts to receive research funding from the National Institutes of Health, according to an analysis of data from 2000 to 2006.

AIAA to present awards at September conference
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) will present awards for technical and lifetime achievement at an 11:30 a.m. awards luncheon on Sept. 21 as part of the 11th AIAA Aviation Technology, Integration, and Operations (ATIO) Conference, the AIAA Balloon Systems Conference, the 19th AIAA Lighter-Than-Air Systems Technology Conference, and the AIAA Centennial of Naval Aviation Forum, September 20, at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, Virginia Beach, Va.

Earth-bound asteroids come from stony asteroids, new studies confirm
Researchers got their first up-close look at dust from the surface of a small, stony asteroid after the Hayabusa spacecraft scooped some up and brought it back to Earth. Analysis of these dust particles, detailed in a special issue of the journal Science this week, confirms a long-standing suspicion: that the most common meteorites found here on Earth, known as ordinary chondrites, are born from these stony, or S-type, asteroids.

World's largest meeting of ear, nose and throat doctors
The 2011 Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO of the American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery Foundation, the largest meeting of ear, nose, and throat doctors in the world, will convene September 11-14, 2011, in San Francisco, Calif.

Research discovers frequent mutations of chromatin remodeling genes in TCC of the bladder
BGI, the world's largest genomics organization, Peking University Shenzhen Hospital and Shenzhen Second People's Hospital, announced today that the study on frequent mutations of chromatin remodeling genes in transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder was published online in Nature Genetics.

Announcing Cell Reports -- a new open-access journal from Cell Press
Cell Press announced today the launch of its newest journal, Cell Reports, which will publish its first issue in January 2012. Cell Reports, the first open-access online-only journal from Cell Press, will publish high-quality research across the entire life science spectrum. The journal will focus on shorter, single-point articles, entitled Reports, in addition to regular full-length articles. As with all Cell Press journals, the primary criterion for both formats will be new biological insight.

Johns Hopkins scientists reveal new survival mechanism for neurons
Nerve cells that regulate everything from heart muscle to salivary glands send out projections known as axons to their targets. By way of these axonal processes, neurons control target function and receive molecular signals from targets that return to the cell body to support cell survival. Now, Johns Hopkins researchers have revealed a molecular mechanism that allows a signal from the target to return to the cell body and fulfill its neuron-sustaining mission.

Stanford/Packard scientists find new uses for existing drugs by mining gene-activity data banks
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have paired up medicines and maladies with help from a molecular

In the Himalayan peaks, UC tests designs to improve researchers' lives in the field
University of Cincinnati prototype designs to improve the lives of researchers when they are

Program helps high school students overcome depression and thoughts of suicide
A suicide prevention program developed at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center has significantly helped teens overcome depression and thoughts of suicide, according to a new study.

Research team achieves first 2-color STED microscopy of living cells
Current applications of STED microscopy have been limited to single color imaging of living cells and multicolor imaging in

Rising barriers to primary care send many Americans to the emergency department
A shortage in the number and availability of primary care physicians may continue to mean rising numbers of emergency department visits, despite the expanded health insurance coverage required by the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

GOES-13 Satellite watches Emily fizzle, morph and hope for a comeback
A new animation from the GOES-13 satellite shows the creating and morphing of what was once Tropical Storm Emily into an elongated area of low pressure over the Caribbean Sea.

Is this how simple life got complicated?
A new study has created an analog of what researchers think the first multicellular cooperation might have looked like, showing that yeast cells -- in an environment that requires them to work for their food -- grow and reproduce better in multicellular clumps than singly.

Mobile phone data in Haiti improves emergency aid
Population movements in the wake of disasters make it difficult to deliver the right amount of humanitarian aid to the right places. During the earthquake and ensuing cholera epidemic in Haiti, researchers at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, and Columbia University, developed a new method for solving this problem -- they monitored the continual movements of two million anonymous mobile phones and reported directly to the humanitarian relief organizations on the ground.

Study suggests increase in public health spending results in healthier people
A recent study published in Health Affairs suggests that increases in public health spending results in healthier people, especially in communities with fewer resources.

US physicians spend nearly 4 times more on health insurance costs than Canadian counterparts
US physicians spend nearly $61,000 more than their Canadian counterparts each year on administrative expenses related to health insurance, according to a new study by researchers at Cornell University and the University of Toronto.

AMIA questions HHS' proposed HIPAA rule
AMIA, the association for informatics professionals in biomedicine and health care, expressed its concerns to the US Department of Health and Human Services about a proposed rule that would modify the HIPAA Privacy Rules for accounting of disclosures. AMIA expressed extensive concerns about the proposed rule, drawing particular attention to the requirement to generate an

Cellular laser microsurgery illuminates research in vertebrate biology
Using an ultrafast femtosecond laser, researchers at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., were able to label, draw patterns on, and remove individual melanocytes cells from a species of frog tadpole (Xenopus) without damaging surrounding cells and tissues. Melanocytes are the cells responsible for skin pigment; they also are descendants of a specific type of stem cell that has regenerative potential and other characteristics similar to some cancer cells.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County makes scientific history with 'pregnant plesiosaur'
A paper to be published on Aug. 12, 2011, in the authoritative magazine Science reveals that Dr. F. Robin O'Keefe of Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va., and Dr. Luis Chiappe, Director of the Natural History Museum's Dinosaur Institute, have determined that a unique specimen now displayed in NHM's Dinosaur Hall is the fossil of an embryonic marine reptile contained within the fossil of its mother.

Restoring blood flow
Tissue deprived of oxygen (ischemia) is a serious health condition that can lead to damaged heart tissue following a heart attack and, in the case of peripheral arterial disease in limbs, amputation, particularly in diabetic patients. Now Northwestern University researchers have developed a novel nanostructure that promotes the growth of new blood vessels and shows promise as a therapy for conditions where increased blood flow is needed to supply oxygen to tissue.

Introducing system models into ag research
Use of the proper methods is key to realizing the great potential benefits of modeling an agriculture system. For field scientists and other model users looking for an expert resource that breaks down model types, parameter estimation techniques and calibration methods, Methods of Introducing System Models into Agricultural Research may be a valuable resource.

Office of Naval Research looks for big opportunities at small business conference
The Office of Naval Research will share partnership possibilities with members of the small business community at the 23rd Annual Navy Gold Coast Small Business Opportunity Conference, Aug. 23-24 in San Diego. The Gold Coast conference provides a forum to educate, guide and assist primarily small businesses in working with the government, particularly the Department of Defense. The objective is to reach the mutually beneficial goal of identifying relevant research and technology for military use.

Melanin's 'trick' for maintaining radioprotection studied
Research at the US Department of Energy's Savannah River National Laboratory, in collaboration with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, has provided insights into the electrochemical mechanism that gives the complex polymer known as melanin its long-term ability to protect some species from ionizing radiation, with a goal of using that knowledge to develop materials that mimic those natural properties.

Salmonella stays deadly with a 'beta' version of cell behavior
Salmonella cells have hijacked the protein-building process to maintain their ability to cause illness, new research suggests. Scientists say that these bacteria have modified what has long been considered typical cell behavior by using a beta form of an amino acid -- as opposed to an alpha form -- during the act of making proteins.

Scientists pinpoint river flow associated with cholera outbreaks, not just global warming
An examination of the world's largest river basins found nutrient-rich and powerful river discharges led to spikes in the blooms of plankton associated with cholera outbreaks. These increased discharges often occur at times of increased temperature in coastal water, suggesting that predicting global warming's potential temperature effect on cholera will be more complicated than first thought, according to a new study published today in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

'Paranoia' about rivals alters insect mating behavior
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have found that male fruit flies experience a type of

Drinking just 1 measure of spirits increases the risk of acute pancreatitis
Drinking just one 4cl measure of spirits can increase the risk of an acute attack of pancreatitis, but wine or beer does not appear to have the same effect. Researchers from the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, followed 84,601 people from 46 to 84 years of age. The study suggests there are constituents in spirits that are not present in wine and beer and that they can cause acute pancreatitis, either on their own or with alcohol.

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