Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (July 2010)

Science news and science current events archive July, 2010.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from July 2010

FDA accepts historical controls for epilepsy monotherapy studies
New York University researchers revealed that data from previously completed withdrawal to monotherapy studies for antiepileptic drugs provide a valid control for future studies, obviating the need for placebo/pseudo-placebo trials to demonstrate the efficacy of these drugs as monotherapy. Results of this study are now available online in Epilepsia, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the International League Against Epilepsy.

Electrical activity in developing brain influences choice of neurotransmitter
Cascades of genetic signals determine which neurotransmitter a brain cell will ultimately use to communicate with other cells. Now a pair of reports from biologists at the University of California, San Diego, have shown for the first time that electrical activity in these developing neurons can alter their chemical fate -- and change an animal's behavior -- by tweaking this genetic program.

Study describes health effects of occupational exposures in Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant workers
A five-year study into the causes of deaths of workers at Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant shows significantly lower death rates from all causes and cancer in general when compared to the overall United States population. This is known by occupational health researchers as the

Toward a new generation of superplastics
Scientists are reporting an in-depth validation of the discovery of the world's first mass producible, low-cost, organoclays for plastics. The powdered material, made from natural clay, would be a safer, more environmentally friendly replacement for the compound widely used to make plastics nanocomposites. A report on the research appears in ACS' Macromolecules, a biweekly journal.

Kids could get more whole grains from after-school snacks, University of Minnesota study finds
An after-school snack of graham crackers might be one way to get children to eat more whole grains, a new study from the University of Minnesota shows.

Low vitamin D levels associated with cognitive decline
Older adults with low levels of vitamin D appear more likely to experience declines in thinking, learning and memory over a six-year period, according to a report in the July 12 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

New UC Davis study finds early Alzheimer's identification method
Abnormal brain images combined with examination of the composition of the fluid that surrounds the spine may offer the earliest signs identifying healthy older adults at risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, well before cognitive problems emerge, a study by researchers at UC Davis has found.

Pilot study supports adolescent diabetes patients through personalized text messages
Jennifer Dyer, M.D., M.P.H., an endocrinologist at Nationwide Children's Hospital, has developed and completed a pilot study that uses weekly, customized text messages to remind adolescent diabetes patients about their personal treatment activities. At the conclusion of the study, Dr. Dyer found an increase in overall treatment adherence and improved blood glucose levels.

Giving birth many times linked to increased risk of heart disease
Palestinian women frequently give birth many times. This has given researchers in the oPt a unique opportunity to study the effects of numbers of births per woman (parity) on risk of coronary heart disease, since previous studies have lacked high numbers of women giving birth more than six times.

George to receive GSA's 2010 Distinguished Career Contribution to Gerontology Award
The Gerontological Society of America -- the nation's largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging -- has chosen Linda George, Ph.D., of Duke University as the 2010 recipient of the Distinguished Career Contribution to Gerontology Award.

Hopkins faculty lead development of report to FDA on ethical, scientific issues related to 'post-market' clinical trials
Amid growing concerns about clinical trials for drugs that have been approved by the FDA but are later linked to serious health risks, an independent committee at the Institute of Medicine led by two professors from Johns Hopkins University has developed a conceptual framework to guide the agency through the tough decision of ordering such controversial

Researchers cut years from drug development with nanoscopic bead technology
New research accepted by the Journal of Molecular Recognition confirms that a revolutionary technology developed at Wake Forest University will slash years off the time it takes to develop drugs -- bringing vital new treatments to patients much more quickly.

Breast cancer cells regulate multiple genes in response to estrogen-like compounds
Cancer researchers have discovered a previously unknown type of gene regulation and DNA behavior in breast cancer cells that may lead to better insight about environmental exposure to estrogen-like compounds. The study provides the first evidence that cells can regulate many genes at once by looping their DNA, and that this can contribute to cancer when it goes awry.

Prediction tool helps estimate local recurrence in patients with noninvasive breast cancer
In an attempt to help physicians and patients weigh the risks and benefits of the available options for treatment following breast-conserving surgery for patients diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in-situ, researchers from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center are reporting in the Journal of Clinical Oncology on the development of a new prediction tool that calculates a patient's individualized risk for recurrence five and 10 years after surgery.

New virus may pose risk to wild salmon
Epidemics of infectious disease are threatening the farmed fish industry, including one of its most popular products: farmed Atlantic salmon. A team of scientists led by W. Ian Lipkin, M.D., director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, has found evidence that the disease may be caused by a previously unknown virus.

Toxicity increases with combined chemo/radiation treatments for nasopharyngeal carcinoma
Although the standard practice of treating patients with advanced Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma using radiation and chemotherapy may reduce cancer deaths compared to patients treated with radiation alone, noncancer-related deaths and toxicity problems have been shown to increase, according to a recent study published online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Rain of giant gas clouds create active galactic nuclei
In a new research paper appearing in the early online edition of Astrophysical Journal Letters, researchers affiliated with the American Museum of Natural History tie the continual rain of gas onto galaxy centers to extremely bright active galactic nuclei.

Researchers envision better disease surveillance to improve public health
With current public health threats ranging from swine flu to bioterrorism to environmental contamination, innovations that better predict disease outbreaks have vast potential to protect the public. Researchers describe their vision for the future of disease surveillance, detailing innovations on the horizon that may facilitate earlier detection and improved public health preparedness.

Increasing fertility threefold
Prof. Adrian Shulman of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine has found a statistical connection between the vitamin supplement DHEA, used to counter the effects of aging, and successful pregnancy rates in women undergoing treatment for infertility. In the first controlled study on the effects of the supplement, Prof. Shulman found that women being treated for infertility who also received supplements of DHEA were three times more likely to conceive than women being treated without the additional drug.

Brown dwarf found orbiting a young sun-like star
Astronomers have imaged a very young brown dwarf, or failed star, in a tight orbit around a young nearby sun-like star. The discovery is expected to shed light on the early stages of solar system formation.

Hopkins team discovers sweet way to detect prediabetes
Having discovered a dramatic increase of an easy-to-detect enzyme in the red blood cells of people with diabetes and prediabetes, Johns Hopkins scientists say the discovery could lead to a simple, routine test for detecting the subtle onset of the disease, before symptoms or complications occur and in time to reverse its course.

See what's brewing in 'hurricane alleys' live online, on iPad and iPhone via GOES satellite
Scientists working for NASA's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite Project at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., have developed continually updating

AHAF announces new partnership with open-access journal, Molecular Neurodegeneration
The American Health Assistance Foundation today announced a new partnership with BioMed Central's open-access journal, Molecular Neurodegeneration, in which the publication will be the official open-access journal of AHAF.

Bioethics beach reading, Summer 2010 edition
In the spirit of summer, and especially summer reading, the Hastings Center asked some of our favorite well-read writers to look at bioethics through the lens of literature. Thought provoking bioethical questions are raised in the seven novels and one stranger-than-fiction true story that they recommend. The earliest was published in 1858; the most recent came out this year.

Ironing out the causes of wrinkles
New experiments offer insights into how defects influence the formation of wrinkles, and could prove helpful in understanding wrinkles in biological tissue.

Entitled workers are more frustrated on the job and more likely to abuse co-workers
Employees who feel entitled in the workplace are more apt to be frustrated on the job and lash out at their co-workers, according to new research from the University of New Hampshire.

Women live longer but in worse condition
Catalan researchers have studied the socioeconomic and health inequalities experienced by people over the age of 64. The results of the study show that women live longer, but experience more limitations to daily activity and a lower quality of life than men of the same age.

Behind the secrets of silk lie high-tech opportunities
Tougher than a bullet-proof vest yet synonymous with beauty and luxury, silks spun by worms and spiders are a masterpiece of nature whose properties have yet to be fully replicated in the laboratory. But scientists have begun to unravel the secrets of silk. Tufts biomedical engineers report that silk-based materials have been transformed from commodity textile to a growing web of high tech applications.

Ferns and fog on the forest floor
As the mercury rises outdoors, it's a fitting time to consider the effects of summertime droughts and global warming on ecosystems. Complex interactions among temperature, water cycling, and plant communities create a tangled web of questions that need to be answered as we face a rapidly changing climate. Drs. Emily Limm and Todd Dawson (University of California, Berkeley) recently tackled one aspect of the challenging question of how climate change can impact plant communities that obtain water from fog.

New TGen technology reduces storage needs and costs for genomic data
A new computer data compression technique called Genomic SQueeZ, developed by the Translational Genomics Research Institute, will allow genetic researchers and others to store, analyze and share massive volumes of data in less space and at lower cost.

Story tips from the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory July 2010
People recovering from injuries could from a gait analysis technology being developed by a team at ORNL. A National Academies Keck Futures Initiative award of $100,000 will help researchers from ORNL and State University NY to produce biofuels. Visiting scientists working at SNS and CNMS at ORNL often conduct experiments that run day and night. By applying advanced data mining techniques a researcher at ORNL envisions the creation of tools that can provide insights into climate science.

Obesity in early adulthood associated with increased risk of psoriatic arthritis
Among persons with psoriasis, those who reported being obese at age 18 had an increased risk of developing psoriatic arthritis, according to a report in the July 19 issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Special news media briefing and reception during American Chemical Society national meeting
Two world-renowned food chemists -- Sara Risch, Ph.D., and Shirley Corriher (also an award-winning cookbook author) -- will present a briefing on the Chemistry of Stadium Foods during the American Chemical Society's 240th National Meeting Aug. 22-26 in Boston. It will be held on Monday, Aug. 23, at 5:30 p.m. at Jerry Remy's Sports Bar and Grill, 1265 Boylston St., next to Fenway Park.

A chemical to make brain cells grow
Scientists have identified a chemical that makes new neurons grow. The substance works specifically in a part of the brain that is integral to learning and memory.

September-October GSA Bulletin highlights
The September-October 2010 issue of GSA Bulletin is now available online. Research collected from around the globe addresses fast erosion during floods; improving ancient Earth's geological time scale fidelity; geologically recent tectonic plate movements; potential effects of volcanic activity on a California community; and an effort to identify the source of earthquakes in southern Alaska, among other topics.

Hot topic: Improving communications to fight wildfires
Wildfires can be deadly, as well as causing millions of dollars worth of damage to homes, businesses and natural resources. Efforts to control wildfires often include a staggering array of federal, state and local government agencies. New research from North Carolina State University is shedding light on how these agencies can better communicate with each other in order to respond more efficiently and effectively to wildfire disasters.

When the quiet logo speaks volumes
The logo on your designer handbag or sports car may say far more about your social status and social aspirations than the brand name itself, according to a new study from the USC Marshall School of Business, which finds that luxury brands charge more for

NASA grant supports center for astrobiology in search for conditions of life in the universe
The New York Center for Astrobiology will widen the scope of its search for the building blocks of life beyond Earth with the help of a new NASA grant. Based at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the center is devoted to investigating the origins of life on Earth and the conditions that lead to formation of habitable planets in our own and other solar systems.

NIH awards National Jewish Health $31 million to lead study of infections associated with eczema
National Jewish Health has received $31 million form the NIH to lead a study of infections associated with eczema. Antibiotic-resistant staph infections, which are both a public health problem and particular scourge of eczema patients, will be a major focus of the study. Atopic dermatitis is the most common skin disease in the US, afflicting about 20 percent of children.

Individuals confess alcohol abuse to clergy
Persons with alcohol problems are finding comfort in speaking about their situation to clergy, a new study shows.

3 former Latin American presidents sign Vienna Declaration, join global call to action for science-based drug policy reform
Former Presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso (Brazil), Ernesto Zedillo (México) and César Gaviria (Colombia) today announced their endorsement of the Vienna Declaration, the official declaration of the XVIII International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2010).

Mapping of neglected tropical diseases critical to control and elimination efforts
To take full advantage of recent increased financial commitments from some governments, international agencies, and philanthropies, accurate and up-to-date mapping of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) needs to be implemented to help improve the precision of decision-making in NTD control and elimination, says a new editorial,

NASA infrared imagery shows Chanthu weakening after landfall in southeastern China
Tropical Storm Chanthu came ashore in southeastern China and continues to move inland. NASA captured both visible and infrared satellite data that showed the storm is weakening in both form and cloud temperatures.

LSUHSC awarded $2 million dollar grant to prevent pneumonia linked to immune deficiency
Dr. Jay Kolls, Professor and Chairman of Genetics at the LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Medicine, has been awarded a $2.1 million grant over five years by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health to determine the role and identify which T-helper cells fight the opportunistic infection, Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, which can be a complication of HIV/AIDS, cancer or transplantation.

The biology of fungi -- 1.5 million species -- 1 congress
The British Mycological Society, in association with Elsevier, the world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information, today announced the final programme for the 9th Mycological Congress IMC9: The Biology of Fungi.

Rediscovery: MBL scientists confirm role for mysterious cell component, the nucleolinus
Scientists at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole have confirmed the role in cell division of a long-neglected cellular component, the nucleolinus.

CTC screening for colorectal cancer not cost-effective when reimbursed at same rate as colonoscopy
Computed tomographic colonography, also known as virtual colonoscopy, is not cost-effective if reimbursed at the same rate as colonoscopy, according to a study published online July 27 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Preventing heart problems while keeping a cool head
Max Planck researchers explain the cause of the flushing effect arising from cholesterol treatment with nicotinic acid.

New vitamin D guidelines from Osteoporosis Canada
Comprehensive updated guidelines for vitamin D supplementation from Osteoporosis Canada provide physicians with the latest information, including new safe dose levels, in the latest online issue of CMAJ.

For female baboons, too, it's good to have friends
Female baboons that maintain closer ties with other members of their troop live substantially longer than do those whose social bonds are less stable, a recent study has found. The researchers say that the findings, reported online on July 1 in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, add to evidence in animals from mice to humans that social bonds have real adaptive value. 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