Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (January 2012)

Science news and science current events archive January, 2012.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from January 2012

The biodiversity crisis: Worse than climate change
Biodiversity is declining rapidly throughout the world. The challenges of conserving the world's species are perhaps even larger than mitigating the negative effects of global climate change. This is the main conclusion from scientists from University of Copenhagen, after 100 researchers and policy experts from EU countries were gathered this week at the University of Copenhagen to discuss how to organize the future UN Intergovernmental Panel for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, IPBES -- an equivalent to the UN Panel on Climate Change.

Gastrointestinal bleeding: What many kidney failure patients stomach
Bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract causes serious health problems -- and even early deaths -- for many patients with kidney failure, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

Agent shows ability to suppress brain metastasis and related damage
Brain metastasis remains an unconquered challenge in cancer treatment. Pigment epithelium-derived factor suppressed brain damage. Agent is already being studied for macular degeneration.

Study pinpoints and plugs mechanism of AML cancer cell escape
Turning off the gene that codes for WEE1 sensitizes acute myeloid leukemia cells to chemotherapy.

Scientists confirm tobacco use by ancient Mayans
Archaeologists examining late period Mayan containers have identified nicotine traces from a codex-style flask, revealing the first physical evidence of tobacco use by ancient Mayans. The study published in Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry reveals the flask is marked with Mayan hieroglyphics reading,

US high-tech jobs lost as technological lead shrinks
The United States lost 28 percent of its high-technology manufacturing jobs over the last decade, as the nation's rapidly shrinking lead in science and technology in the global marketplace was accompanied by a toll on US high-tech jobs, according to a new study released today by the National Science Board, the policy-making body for the National Science Foundation.

Steroids prevent protein changes seen in the joints of people with rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease where the body begins to attack the joints and organs of the body. Proteins within inflamed joints are often modified by citrullination. New research published in BioMed Central's open-access journal Arthritis Research & Therapy shows that glucocorticoid therapy can reduce the amount of citrullination and the amount of the enzyme peptidylargininedeiminase 4 responsible for citrullination in the joints of people with RA.

New therapeutic target to combat liver cancer discovered
Researchers at CIC Biogune, the Cooperative Centre for Research into Biosciences and led by Dr. Maria Luz Martinez Chantar, have found a strong relationship between high levels of Hu antigen R protein and the malignancy of hepatocellular carcinoma, through a novel molecular process in the investigation of this pathology and known as neddylation. The project provides new opportunities for making advances in the quest for personalized therapeutic applications in the treatment for hepatocarcinoma.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital launches data website for genome project
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital has launched a freely available website for published research results from the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital -- Washington University Pediatric Cancer Genome Project (PCGP). The PCGP is the largest effort to date aimed at sequencing the entire genomes of both normal and cancer cells from pediatric cancer patients, comparing differences in the DNA to identify genetic mistakes that lead to childhood cancers.

What really happened prior to 'Snowball Earth'?
In a study published in the journal Geology, Dr. Peter Swart if the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science suggests that the large changes in the carbon isotopic composition of carbonates which occurred prior to the major climatic event more than 500 million years ago, known as

Study offers new information for flu fight
Influenza virus can rapidly evolve from one form to another, complicating the effectiveness of vaccines and anti-viral drugs used to treat it. By first understanding the complex host cell pathways that the flu uses for replication, University of Georgia researchers are finding new strategies for therapies and vaccines, according to a study published in the January issue of the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

How the brain puts the brakes on the negative impact of cocaine
Research published by Cell Press in the Jan. 12 issue of the journal Neuron provides fascinating insight into a newly discovered brain mechanism that limits the rewarding impact of cocaine. The study describes protective delayed mechanism that turns off the genes that support the development of addiction-related behaviors. The findings may lead to a better understanding of vulnerability to addiction and as well as new strategies for treatment.

Many people continue to smoke after being diagnosed with cancer
A new analysis has found that a substantial number of lung and colorectal cancer patients continue to smoke after being diagnosed. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study provides valuable information on which cancer patients might need help to quit smoking.

Georgetown Lombardi researchers present new findings on head & neck cancers
Georgetown researchers are examining a hypothesis about whether HPV+ patients with a head and neck cancer should receive more or less chemotherapy. In a separate study, researchers are studying an unusual occurrence linked to head and neck tumors involving metastasis in the axillary nodes.

Impaired quality of life: A warning signal after oesophageal cancer surgery
A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology shows that most patients who survive for at least five years after oesophageal cancer surgery recover an average quality of life. However, quality of life deteriorates significantly for one in six patients to a level that remains much lower than the average population in the five years after surgery. This suggests, say the researchers, that hospitals must be better at identifying this patient group.

Who's the boss? Research shows cells influence their own destiny
In a major shake-up of scientists' understanding of what determines the fate of cells, researchers at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute have shown that cells have some control over their own destiny.

Biochip measures glucose in saliva, not blood
Engineers at Brown University have designed a biological device that can measure glucose concentrations in human saliva. The technique could eliminate the need for diabetics to draw blood to check their glucose levels. The biochip uses plasmonic interferometers and could be used to measure a range of biological and environmental substances. Results are published in Nano Letters.

Solutions for a nitrogen-soaked world
Nitrogen is both an essential nutrient and a pollutant, a byproduct of fossil fuel combustion and a fertilizer that feeds billions, a benefit and a hazard, depending on form, location, and quantity. Agriculture, industry and transportation have spread nitrogen liberally around the planet, say scientists in the latest edition of ESA's Issues in Ecology series,

Sexual satisfaction in women increases with age
A new study of sexually active older women has found that sexual satisfaction in women increases with age and those not engaging in sex are satisfied with their sex lives. A majority of study participants report frequent arousal and orgasm that continue into old age, despite low sexual desire. The study appears in the January issue of the American Journal of Medicine.

Space Weather Center to add world's first 'ensemble forecasting' capability
Goddard's Space Weather Laboratory recently received support under NASA's Space Technology Program Game Changing Program to implement

Antiestrogen therapy may decrease risk for melanoma
Melanoma risk was 60 percent higher among those not taking antiestrogen therapy. Researcher cautions against widespread antiestrogen supplementation use. Study included 7,360 women with breast cancer.

Engineered bacteria effectively target tumors, enabling tumor imaging potential in mice
Tumor-targeted bioluminescent bacteria have been shown for the first time to provide accurate 3D images of tumors in mice, further advancing the potential for targeted cancer drug delivery

Targeting malaria hotspots key to reducing transmission
In this week's PLoS Medicine, Teun Bousema of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK and colleagues argue that targeting malaria

Metastasis of pancreatic cancer in action
Penn researchers have discovered that pancreatic cancer cells in an animal model begin to spread before clinically obvious tumor tissue is detected. What's more, they showed that inflammation enhances cancer progression in part by facilitating a cellular transformation that leads to entry of cancer cells into the circulation.

Under the electron microscope -- a 3-D image of an individual protein
Berkeley Lab scientists are reporting the first 3-D images of an individual protein ever obtained with enough clarity to determine its structure.

Scientists aboard Iberian coast ocean drilling expedition report early findings
Mediterranean bottom currents and the sediment deposits they leave behind offer new insights into global climate change, the opening and closing of ocean circulation gateways and locations where hydrocarbon deposits may lie buried under the sea.

Replacing Medicare visual acuity screening with dilated eye exams appears cost effective
Replacing visual acuity screenings for new Medicare enrollees with coverage of a dilated eye exam for healthy patients entering the government insurance program for the elderly

Gender differences in liver cancer risk explained by small changes in genome
Men are four times more likely to develop liver cancer compared to women, a difference attributed to the sex hormones androgen and estrogen. Although this gender difference has been known for a long time, the molecular mechanisms by which estrogens prevent -- and androgens promote -- liver cancer remain unclear. Now, new research, has found that the difference depends on which proteins the sex hormones bind next to.

Warming in the Tasman Sea a global warming hot spot
Oceanographers have identified a series of ocean hotspots around the world generated by strengthening wind systems that have driven oceanic currents, including the East Australian Current, polewards beyond their known boundaries.

Mouse to elephant? Just wait 24 million generations
Scientists have for the first time measured how fast large-scale evolution can occur in mammals, showing it takes 24 million generations for a mouse-sized animal to evolve to the size of an elephant.

Exploring how a parent's education can affect the mental health of their offspring
Could depression in adulthood be tied to a parent's level of education? A new study led by Amélie Quesnel-Vallée, a medical sociologist from McGill University, suggests this is the case.

Babies are born with 'intuitive physics' knowledge, says MU researcher
While it may appear that infants are helpless creatures that only blink, eat, cry and sleep, one University of Missouri researcher says that studies indicate infant brains come equipped with knowledge of

Radiation plus chemotherapy provides long-term positive results for head and neck cancer patients
A select subgroup of advanced head and neck cancer patients treated with radiation therapy plus the chemotherapy drug cisplatin had more positive outcomes than patients treated with radiation therapy alone and continued to show positive results 10 years post-treatment, according to a study presented at the Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium, sponsored by AHNS, ASCO, ASTRO and SNM.

A first: Brain support cells from umbilical cord stem cells
For the first time ever, stem cells from umbilical cords have been converted into other types of cells, which may eventually lead to new treatment options for spinal cord injuries and multiple sclerosis, among other nervous system diseases.

Waiting for Death Valley's Big Bang
In California's Death Valley, death is looking just a bit closer. Geologists have determined that the half-mile-wide Ubehebe Crater, formed by a prehistoric volcanic explosion, was created far more recently than previously thought -- and that conditions for a sequel may exist today.

Emergency medicine physicians develop device to stop lethal bleeding in soldiers
Two emergency medicine physicians with wartime experience have developed a weapon against one rapidly lethal war injury.

Alcohol consumption and risk of colon cancer in people with a family history of such cancer
A study based on more than 87,000 women and 47,000 men in the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, looks at whether there is a link between colon cancer and alcohol, and if so at what level of consumption, and the importance of a family history of the disease. A total of 1,801 cases of colon cancer were diagnosed during follow-up from 1980 onwards.

'BINGO!' game helps researchers study perception deficits
Bingo, a popular activity in nursing homes, senior centers and assisted-living facilities, has benefits that extend well beyond socializing. Researchers found high-contrast, large bingo cards boost thinking and playing skills for people with cognitive difficulties and visual perception problems produced by Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

Who's wealthy? Beyond net worth, asset and debt levels change our perceptions
Will borrowing money to buy a new car make you feel richer? It depends on your net worth, says a new study in Psychological Science, a journal published by the Association for Psychological Science.

Researchers study how chemicals in drugs and around us impact stem cells
The grant will allow them to study the impacts of known chemical compounds on adult stem cells, providing the most substantive information to date on how many of the chemicals used every day around the world impact stem cells. The work also will seek to develop a new predictive safety screening tool that manufacturers can use to test the toxicity of new chemical compounds on stem cells. The test will be done without the use of animals and at speeds far faster than current tests.

Updated American Cancer Society nutrition guidelines stress need for supportive environment
Updated guidelines on nutrition and physical activity for cancer prevention from the American Cancer Society stress the importance of creating social and physical environments that support healthy behaviors.

Enriched skimmed milk may curb frequency of gout flare-ups
A daily dose of skimmed milk, enriched with two components found in dairy products, may help to curb the frequency of painful gout flare-ups, indicates research published online in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Mars rover to spend winter at 'Greeley Haven,' named for late ASU geologist Ronald Greeley
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity will spend the next few months during the coldest part of Martian winter at Greeley Haven, an outcrop of rock on Mars recently named informally to honor Ronald Greeley, Arizona State University Regents' professor of planetary geology, who died Oct. 27, 2011.

New treatment for chronic depression targets personality style
Researchers from the University of Southampton, in collaboration with psychologists from six other universities, have started a study to assess the impact of a new psychological therapy for chronic, or treatment-resistant, depression.

Abnormal chromosome indicator of treatment and outcome in patients with rare brain tumor
A Radiation Therapy Oncology Group trial shows that, in adults with an oligodendroglioma brain tumor, a chromosomal abnormality is associated with a near-doubling of median survival time and better prognosis when patients are treated with combined chemotherapy and radiation therapy compared to radiation therapy alone.

MIT: How does our brain know what is a face and what's not?
New research from MIT neuroscientists helps explain how the brain recognizes faces.

Quantitative imaging application to gut and ear cells are reported in 2 Nature papers
With its use of stable isotopes as tracers, MIMS has opened the door for biomedical researchers to answer various biological questions, as two new studies have demonstrated.

FASEB SRC announces conference registration open for: Protein Folding in the Cell
The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology announces the opening of registration for the Science Research Conference: Protein Folding in the Cell.

Prehistoric predators with supersized teeth had beefier arm bones
The toothiest prehistoric predators also had beefier arm bones, according to results of a study published today in the journal Paleobiology.

Queen's researchers shed light on how children learn to speak
Researchers have discovered that children under the age of two control speech using a different strategy than previously thought. 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