Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 17, 2008
Argonne's Blue Gene/P to host large cadre of INCITE researchers
Twenty research projects have been awarded more than 111 million hours of computing time at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility at Argonne National Laboratory.

Report identifies research to bolster knowledge of health effects of wireless communication devices
The rapid increase in the use of wireless communication devices in recent years has been accompanied by a significant amount of research into potential health effects from high exposure to radiofrequency energy emitted by these devices.

Researchers identify a means of controlling a parasite that kills and eats human cells
Researchers from the University of Virginia and the University of Vermont have discovered a means of inhibiting one of the world's most voracious parasites.

New function for colon cancer gene found
Dartmouth Medical School geneticists have discovered a striking turnabout role for a gatekeeper known to put on the brakes for colon cancer.

2008 fuel consumption guide released today
Shopping for a new vehicle that saves money on fuel and also helps the environment just got easier.

Multiple micronutrients better than iron/folic acid alone in preventing infant death and fetal loss
Multiple micronutrient supplementation for pregnant women is more effective than iron and folic acid supplementation alone at preventing early infant death and fetal loss.

Scripps research scientists find new genetic mutation that halts the development of lupus
Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute have uncovered a specific genetic mutation that suppresses the development of systemic lupus, an incurable autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack itself.

NICE guidelines on breast cancer follow-up need urgent revision
The NICE guidelines on follow-up for breast cancer patients need urgent revision, warn experts in this week's BMJ.

Do today's young people really think they are so extraordinary?
An article appearing in the February issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, found no evidence that today's young people have inflated impressions of themselves compared to the youth of previous generations.

Altering brain's lipid metabolism reduces Alzheimer's plaques in mice
Increasing levels of a protein that helps the brain use cholesterol may slow the development of Alzheimer's disease changes in the brain, according to researchers studying a mouse model of the disease at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Increased risk of heart attack or stroke for patients who are resistant to aspirin
Being resistant to aspirin makes patients four times more likely to suffer a heart attack, stroke or even die from a pre-existing heart condition, according to a study published on today.

Researchers reveal HIV peptide's possible pathway into the cell
Two theoretical physicists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have uncovered what they believe is the long-sought-after pathway that an HIV peptide takes to enter healthy cells.

Genome scan shows Polynesians have little genetic relationship to Melanesians
The origins and current genetic relationships of Pacific Islanders have generated interest and controversy for many decades.

Disability living allowance falls short for ethnic minorities
A study carried out by researchers at the Peninsula Medical School and the Institute of Child Health has revealed that families from an ethnic, non-English speaking background with a child with Down's syndrome do worse from the Disability Living Allowance system than families facing the same issues who come from a white, English-speaking background.

Recalled toy beads still available in the UK, warn doctors
Toy beads that were internationally recalled last year, after concerns that they may be coated with a dangerous chemical, are still being advertised on toy shop websites for purchase in the UK, warn doctors in this week's BMJ.

A tricky tumor virus
Viruses use many tricks to gain control over their host cells and to reprogram them to their own advantage.

Annual bone fracture rate almost 4 percent and double previous estimates
The annual bone fracture rate in England is just short of 4 percent of the population, which is more than double previous estimates, suggests a study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Evidence found for genes that affect risk of developing Alzheimer's disease
Through one of the largest studies yet of Alzheimer's disease patients and their brothers, sisters, and children, researchers at Mayo Clinic Jacksonville have found strong evidence that genes other than the well-known susceptibility risk factor APOE4 influence who is at risk for developing the neurodegenerative disease later in life.

Forsyth launches 1-of-a-kind core service to enable rapid identification of bacterial samples
Today, the Forsyth Institute launched a new one-of-a-kind service for the research community.

UltraBattery sets new standard for HEVs
The odometer of a low emission hybrid electric test vehicle today reached 100,000 miles as the car circled a track in the UK using the power of an advanced CSIRO battery system.

Just hours apart, 2 brothers undergo robotic prostate cancer surgery
Two brothers from Savannah, Georgia diagnosed with prostate cancer flew to The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York to have lifesaving surgery on the same day this week.

Florida Tech receives $5M for information assurance
The Harris Institute will be housed in a new 24,000-square-foot Harris Center for Science and Engineering on Florida Tech's Melbourne campus.

Consuming extra virgin olive oil helps to combat degenerative diseases such as cancer
Researchers from the University of Granada have for the first time analyzed the antioxidant properties of olive oil, a product rich in polyphenols.

Battling potential disease outbreaks online
Researchers from the Regenstrief Institute and the Indiana University School of Medicine have found that automated electronic medical laboratory reporting improves both the completeness and timeliness of disease surveillance, significantly bettering the odds of stopping the spread of disease.

Former US Naval captain and interim minister of health for Iraq criticizes US Department of Defense
In a Comment in this week's edition of The Lancet, a former US naval captain and interim health minister of Iraq criticizes the US Department of Defense strategy of analyzing

Materials' crystal properties illuminated by mathematical 'lighthouse'
A deeper fundamental understanding of complex materials may now be possible, thanks to a pair of Princeton scientists who have uncovered a new insight into how crystals form.

Short birth length more than doubles risk of violent suicide attempts
Short male babies run more than double the risk of a violent suicide attempt as an adult, suggests a study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Researcher, magnet lab receive $2 million grant to target tuberculosis
About 5,000 people around the world die from tuberculosis every day, but no effective new drugs have been developed to combat it in 40 years.

Western Groundfish Conference to be held in Santa Cruz on Feb. 4-8
More than 200 participants, representing state and federal fishery agencies, regional management councils, universities, conservation groups, and fishing and other marine industries, will meet at the Cocoanut Grove conference center in Santa Cruz, Calif., Feb.

Risk of falling is overlooked as the major cause of fractures in the elderly
An elderly person's risk of falling is too often overlooked when trying to prevent them from getting serious fractures, for instance of the hip or wrist, according to an article published in this week's BMJ.

Further growth for SAGE in public health
SAGE, the world's fifth largest journals publisher, looks set to continue its successful growth in public health this year, today announcing a new partnership with the International Union for Health Promotion and Education to publish their flagship journal, Promotion & Education.

Scientists to preview new climate change research
NCAR scientists at next week's American Meteorological Society meeting in New Orleans will present their latest findings on weather and climate topics, including connections between hurricanes and climate, the influence of climate change on precipitation and drought, and the impact of weather on rocket launches and aviation.

Relatives who decline organ donations face conflict and guilt
Even when family members support organ donation, there's no guarantee that it will happen when someone dies, according to a UK study just published.

Scientists: environmental protection, development not always at odds
Mangroves in coastal Thailand are the main protection against deadly flooding from tsunamis, so it might seem wise to protect them at all costs.

Genetic diversity of European Americans and disease gene mapping
In a recent study, published in the open-access journal PLoS Genetics, an international team of researchers provide the first genetic dissection of the population structure of European Americans, focusing on identifying the contributions from different genetic ancestries that are important for disease gene mapping.

Nonspecific immunomodulation could be used to treat patients with heart failure
Modifying the immune response in patients with heart failure reduces the risk of death from any cause or subsequent first hospitalization for cardiovascular reasons.

California flood risks are 'disaster waiting to happen,' say University of Maryland engineers
While flooding in California's Central Valley is

Predators do more than kill prey
In a new study characterizing the complex ecological interactions that shape how organisms evolve, University of California, Riverside biologists Matthew Walsh and David Reznick present a novel way of quantifying the indirect effects of predators by showing that prey adapt to food availability as well as the presence of predators.

Europe should adopt WHO recommendations for particulate matter cuts
Europe must adopt the World Health Organization standard on fine particulate matter pollution if it is to significantly curb needless premature deaths, concludes research in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Discovery opens door to 'personalized' asthma therapy
Applying state-of-the-art protein screening techniques to samples taken from 84 asthmatic volunteers, researchers have made the first proteomic identification of different subtypes of asthma.

Oak Ridge leads DOE INCITE effort in 2008
Scientific studies on climate change, energy and alternative fuels are among the 30 projects awarded more than 145 million processing hours on supercomputers at ORNL through the DOE's Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment program.

Diet and lifestyle critical to recovery, says study
Diet and lifestyle may play a much more significant role in a person's ability to respond favorably to certain drugs, including some cancer therapies, than previously understood, say scientists.

Discovery of 'creator' gene for cerebral cortex points to potential stem cell treatments
University of California-Irvine researchers have identified a gene that is specifically responsible for generating the cerebral cortex, a finding that could lead to stem cell therapies to treat brain injuries and diseases such as stroke and Alzheimer's.

Study finds significant differences in protocols hospitals use to determine brain death
A survey of some of the top hospitals in the country has found that protocols followed to determine brain death differ significantly among those institutions and often do not follow the standards established by the American Academy of Neurology.

New way to produce high-vitamin corn could improve nutrition in developing countries
Scientists have developed a new method for producing high-vitamin corn that may decrease the frequency of diseases caused by poor nutrition in developing countries.

Plant pathogen yields substance to fight neuroblastoma
Drug treatment of neuroblastoma, a tumor of the nervous system in children, poses major problems.

KAUST to form first private-sector research collaboration with GE
Partnership between King Abdullah University of Science and Technology and GE will focus on energy and environmental efficiencies, oil and gas research and technology development.

Jefferson scientists uncover role of cancer stem cell marker: controlling gene expression
Scientists at Jefferson's Kimmel Cancer Center in Philadelphia have made an extraordinary advance in the understanding of the function of a gene previously shown to be part of an 11-gene

Value of drugs for pre-osteoporosis exaggerated
A series of recent scientific publications have exaggerated the benefits and underplayed the harms of drugs to treat pre-osteoporosis or

Deep-ocean researchers target tsunami zone near Japan
Rice University Earth scientist Dale Sawyer and colleagues have reported the discovery of a strong variation in the tectonic stresses in a region of the Pacific Ocean notorious for generating devastating earthquakes and tsunamis in southeastern Japan.

Paired microbes eliminate methane using sulfur pathway
Anaerobic microbes in the Earth's oceans consume 90 percent of the methane produced by methane hydrates -- methane trapped in ice -- preventing large amounts of methane from reaching the atmosphere.

Chromosomal abnormalities play substantial role in autism
Genome-wide scans of families affected by autism spectrum disorder have revealed new evidence that previously unknown chromosomal abnormalities have a substantial role in the prevalent developmental disorder, according to...

Discovery major step forward in treating leukemia
Researchers at the University of East Anglia have discovered for the first time a pathway that makes cancerous leukemia cells resistant to treatment.

Oak Ridge to lead auto supplier R&D partnership
Oak Ridge National Laboratory will lead research and development work for the automotive supplier industry initiated through the US Automotive Partnership for Advancing Research and Technologies, or USAutoPARTs collaborative announced today at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Rapid effects of intensive therapy seen in brains of patients with OCD
In a study that may significantly advance the understanding of how cognitive-behavioral therapy affects the brain, researchers have shown that significant changes in activity in certain regions of the brain can be produced with as little as four weeks of daily therapy in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Scratching an itch: Neutralizing IL-22 prevents psoriasis in mice
Psoriasis, which is a chronic disease characterized by the development of red, scaly, raised skin lesions, affects approximately 2 percent of the population of countries of the Western world.

Alzheimer's molecule is a smart speed bump on the nerve-cell transport highway
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine discovered that proteins carrying chemical cargo in nerve cells react differently when exposed to the tau protein, which plays an important role in Alzheimer's disease.

Genetic Alliance names Genetic Testing as its official journal
Genetic Alliance, an organization devoted to accelerating the translation and integration of genetic research into genetic services to advance health care, has named Genetic Testing as its official journal.

Engineered mice provide insight into Alzheimer's disease
One factor that determines an individual's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease is the version of the APOE gene that they carry.

Newly discovered virus linked to deadly skin cancer
Painstaking screening of DNA sequencing data has revealed a previously unknown virus that appears to be strongly associated with a rare but deadly skin cancer called Merkel cell carcinoma, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute report in this week's issue of the journal Science.

New gene test for prostate cancer at hand
Men with susceptibility for prostate cancer will soon be identifiable through a simple DNA test.

JCI table of contents: Jan. 17, 2008
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Jan.

Cancer stem cell marker also drives transcription in normal cells
New research links the recently discovered function of a multi-faceted transcriptional complex to control of gene expression in both normal cells and cancer stem cells...

ESF's workshop restores good name of sugar
Sugars were once credited with magical healing powers but are now seen like salt as an evil necessary in small doses but the cause of numerous diseases such as diabetes if taken in excess.

Discovery cuts cost of next generation optical fibers
Scientists have discovered a way of speeding up the production of hollow-core optical fibers -- a new generation of optical fibers that could lead to faster and more powerful computing and telecommunications technologies.

Scientists call for urgent research into 'real' impacts of invasive species
A report -- Economic Impacts of Invasive Alien Species: A Global Problem with Local Consequences -- by the Global Invasive Species Programme warns that unless more research is carried out to highlight the damage caused by invasive species, more livelihoods and natural ecosystems will be ruined as a consequence of their effects.

Modified-release prednisone reduces morning stiffness in patients with rheumatoid arthritis
Using modified-release prednisone instead of standard prednisone significantly reduces the duration of morning stiffness in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Unconventional natural gas reservoir in Pennsylvania poised to dramatically increase US Production
Natural gas distributed throughout the Marcellus black shale in northern Appalachia could conservatively boost proven US reserves by trillions of cubic feet if gas production companies employ horizontal drilling techniques, according to a Penn State and State University of New York, Fredonia, team.

Human activities contribute to California's global warming
Over the past 85 years, humans have helped shape California climate during certain seasons.

Study discovers secret of Scottish sheep evolution
Researchers from the University of Sheffield, as part of an international team, have discovered the secret of why dark sheep on a remote Scottish Island are mysteriously declining, seemingly contradicting Darwin's evolutionary theory.

Contact lenses with circuits, lights a possible platform for superhuman vision
Achieving superhuman vision like the Bionic Woman's could be as easy as popping in a contact lens.

Team finds an economical way to boost the vitamin A content of maize
A team of plant geneticists and crop scientists has pioneered an economical approach to the selective breeding of maize that can boost levels of provitamin A, the precursors that are converted to vitamin A upon consumption.

'Nonlinear' ecosystem response points to environmental solutions
The preservation of coastal ecosystem services such as clean water, storm buffers or fisheries protection does not have to be an all-or-nothing approach, a new study indicates, and a better understanding of how ecosystems actually respond to protection efforts in a

Weill Cornell team discovers how brain's own tPA helps regulate blood flow to neurons
The human brain contains its own store of a powerful enzyme (and stroke drug) called tissue plasminogen activator, which appears to be a key regulator of blood flow to brain cells, a team at the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City reports.

Palestinian refugees living in 'slum conditions'
Palestinian refugees in unofficial camps are living in slum conditions redolent of UK housing in the last century, finds research in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 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