Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 01, 2008
RNA-based methods for developmental studies are featured in Cold Spring Harbor Protocols
This month's issue of Cold Spring Harbor Protocols highlights two methods to understand developmental processes in plants and flies.

Scientists discover new species of giant elephant-shrew
Although there is unquestionably much left to be discovered about life on Earth, charismatic animals like mammals are usually well documented, and it is rare to find a new species today -- especially from a group as intriguing as the elephant-shrews, monogamous mammals found only in Africa with a colorful history of misunderstood ancestry.

Unique whey protein is promising supplement for strict PKU diet
A team of University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists is assessing a unique protein found only in whey, the liquid byproduct of cheese-making, that appears to hold promise as a dietary supplement for individuals with a rare genetic condition known as phenylketonuria, or PKU.

Globetrotting black rat genes reveal spread of humans and diseases
DNA of the common black rat has shed light on the ancient spread of rats, people and diseases around the globe.

Simons Foundation grant boosts brain tumor research
A $10 million commitment from James H. and Marilyn H.

Genetic mutation increases risk of preterm birth
Genetic mutations in the Toll-like receptor 4 gene appear to have significant association with inflammatory injury to the placenta and developing baby, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh's department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences report.

Using flower power to fight foot woes
A common flower that helps wipe out garden insects has also shown promise in eradicating stubborn warts, according to preliminary research presented by podiatrist Tracey Vlahovic at the American Academy of Dermatology's Annual Meeting on Feb.

REMICADE-treated patients experienced substantial improvement in psoriasis in critical body regions
Data from an integrated analysis of three randomized, placebo-controlled trials showed patients with moderate to severe psoriasis receiving REMICADE achieved a consistently high level of skin clearance in the head, trunk, lower and upper extremities as measured by the Psoriasis Area Severity Index.

Study of successful drug targets could hasten development of new medications
Researchers from the University of Chicago Medical Center and Columbia University analyzed specific properties of the human genes and proteins that serve as targets for nearly a thousand FDA-approved drugs.

Trainor Lab characterizes gene essential for prenatal development of nervous system
The Stowers Institute's Trainor Lab has demonstrated the role of a gene important to the embryonic development of the nervous system, a process that requires coordination of differentiation of immature neural cells with the cycle of cell division that increases their numbers.

Brain region that can be stimulated to reduce the cognitive deficits of sleep deprivation identified
A Columbia University Medical Center research team has uncovered how stimulation of a particular brain region can help stave off the deficits in working memory, associated with an extended sleep deprivation.

Ancient climate secrets raised from ocean depths
Photos and samples taken of coral in the deepest recesses of the Southern Ocean investigated to date off Australia, are expected to yield valuable historical data on climate change.

Ecological genetics of freshwater bacteria surveyed
The first of a new series of articles on 21st Century Directions in Biology describes how new molecular techniques have started to characterize the nature and variation of bacterial populations in fresh water.

Irregular exercise pattern may add pounds
The consequences of quitting exercise may be greater than previously thought, according to a new study from the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that determined that the weight gained during an exercise hiatus can be tough to shed when exercise is resumed at a later date.

Blacks twice as susceptible and more likely to die of severe sepsis than whites
Blacks have almost double the rate of severe sepsis -- an overwhelming infection of the bloodstream accompanied by acute organ dysfunction -- as whites, according to recent research.

Story ideas from the Journal of Biological Chemistry
The following are articles in the next issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Larynx preservation preferred over total laryngectomy
Patients with locally advanced laryngopharyngeal cancers who receive radical chemoradiation have significantly better voice outcomes during the 12 months following treatment when compared with patients who have undergone a total laryngectomy and surgical voice restoration, according to a study in the Feb.

UD grad students to build research code of ethics in novel project
Scientific research is a quest for the truth. But sometimes this noble mission can get sidetracked, as recent high-profile cases of research misconduct have shown.

PLMI predicts total sleep time in older people with cognitive impairment, sleep disturbance
A higher periodic leg movement index predicted less sleep at night in older people with cognitive impairment and sleep disturbance.

Supportive devices or unnecessary surveillance?
In the near future, every manufactured product -- our clothes, appliances, the paint on our walls, the carpets on our floors, our cars -- will be embedded with intelligence, networks of tiny sensors and actuators, which some have termed

International team establishes unique observatory in Antarctica
A team of scientists representing six international institutions, including Texas A&M University, has succeeded in reaching the summit of Antarctica -- also a monumental achievement for ground-based astronomy -- to establish a new astronomical observatory at Dome Argus on the highest point of the Antarctic Plateau.

Swarm approach to photography
A new approach to cleaning up digital photos and other images has been developed by researchers in the UK and Jordan.

Gene guards grain-producing grasses so people and animals can eat
Purdue University and USDA-Agricultural Research Service scientists have discovered that a type of gene in grain-producing plants halts infection by a disease-causing fungus that can destroy crops vital for human food supplies.

Prostate cancer: Watchful wait or vaccinate?
Researchers at the University of Southern California have developed a prostate cancer vaccine that prevented the development of cancer in 90 percent of young mice genetically predestined to develop the disease.

New study in the journal Sleep finds a systematic change in dreams after Sept. 11, 2001
The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, changed our lives in a number of different ways, not only socially and politically, but also in the way in which we dream.

Oceanographer Dennis J. McGillicuddy, Jr. receives 34th annual Rosenstiel Award
Dennis J. McGillicuddy, Jr., PhD, is the recipient of the 2008 Rosenstiel Award.

Chinese Physicist wins international physics award
Physicist in China wins international physics prize for 40 years of working on condensed matter and for advancing physics scholarship and interaction.

American food: Still the best deal in the world
Although food prices rose 4.8 percent last year, eating nutritiously is still well within reach of the American family, according to the latest US Department of Agriculture statistics.

New book explores how to restore the freedom necessary for scientific advances
In his new book

Noninvasive ways to assess liver disease
Two new studies examine noninvasive ways to determine liver fibrosis and cirrhosis.

4 days of REM sleep deprivation contributes to a reduction of cell proliferation in rats
Four days' exposure to a REM sleep deprivation procedure reduces cell proliferation in the part of the forebrain that contributes to long-term memory of rats.

Balloon catheter-based sinus surgery radiation exposure 'very low,' safe
A new and increasingly popular type of minimally invasive sinus surgery exposes patients to only

Journal Sleep: Chronic insomnia can predict future functioning of adolescents
In one of the largest epidemiologic studies of insomnia among adolescents ever conducted in the United States, a study published in the Feb.

Taking more than 1 anti-inflammatory drug may lead to complications
A new study found that taking two NSAIDs was associated with lower scores on a health-related quality of life assessment.

Is it organic or not?
As organic farming becomes more common, methods to identify fraud in the industry are increasingly important.

The best of times and the worst of times: Sustaining the future of academic GI
Academic gastroenterology divisions face severe challenges from political and economic influences.

Highlights from the February 2008 Journal of the American Dietetic Association
The February 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association contains articles and research studies you may find of interest.

NASA data link pollution to rainy summer days in the southeast
Rainfall data from a NASA satellite show that summertime storms in the southeastern United States shed more rainfall midweek than on weekends.

New findings show Enbrel significantly reduced levels of C-reactive protein
Amgen and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, a division of Wyeth, today announced findings from a retrospective analysis, which demonstrated that ENBREL reduced C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation, in patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis following 12 weeks of treatment.

New, noninvasive prostate cancer test beats PSA in detecting prostate cancer
An experimental biomarker test developed by researchers at the University of Michigan more accurately detects prostate cancer than any other screening method currently in use, according to a study published in the Feb.

Early detection critical in treating pediatric thyroid cancer
Efforts to treat pediatric papillary thyroid cancer are greatly improved by detecting the disease as early as possible, making the patient's age the most important factor in determining a prognosis, according to new research published in the February 2008 issue of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery.

Journal Sleep: Study concludes a daytime nap can benefit a person's memory performance
A brief bout of non-REM sleep obtained during a daytime nap clearly benefits a person's declarative memory performance.

Iowa State chemists track how drug changes, blocks flu virus
Two Iowa State University chemists have discovered an antivirus drug attacks influenza A by changing the motion and structure of a proton channel necessary for the virus to infect healthy cells.

Bone mineral content continues to increase in obese adolescents during weight loss
Obese teenagers who succeeded in losing weight in a year-long medically supervised weight control program also saw their bone mineral content increase over that period, say researchers from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Why serotonin can cause depression and anxiety
Mood disorders could be caused by a loss of our inherent, reflexive avoidance of aversive events, according to a study published in PLoS Computational Biology.

Astronomical and mathematical physics awards go to chaos and X-ray leaders
Awards go to an X-ray astronomy innovator and developer of a chaos theory win physics prizes.

Connection between health of wetlands and humans in focus
Despite the vital role wetlands play in society, they remain among the most threatened ecosystems on Earth.

T cell immunity enhanced by timing of interleukin-7 therapy
A team of scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison has found that the timing of interleuin-7 therapy is critical for increasing the number of killer cells that zero in on and destroy virus-infected cells.

Smoking can double risk of colorectal polyps
Smokers have a two-fold increased risk of developing colorectal polyps, the suspected underlying cause of most colorectal cancers, according to a study published in Gastroenterology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association Institute.

Journal Sleep: Respiratory disturbances during sleep increase significantly with age
The frequency of respiratory disturbances increases dramatically with age, even in healthy individuals without symptoms or signs of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.

Abuse history affects pain regulation in women with irritable bowel syndrome
UCLA and University of North Carolina researchers have found that women with irritable bowel syndrome who have experienced sexual and/or physical abuse may have a heightened brain response to pain that makes them more sensitive to abdominal discomfort.

Older Americans suffer serious access limitations to exercise their right to vote
The US Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing yesterday in Washington, DC, on older Americans and the significant barriers they face in exercising their right to vote.

Can world prize competitions foster more equitable drug research and development?
Challenging researchers through international prize competitions to come up with innovative medicines and ideas for improving global health can help break existing profit-driven patterns that produce mostly drugs for the rich, according to world experts attending a landmark meeting devoted to the topic.

Cool spacedust survey goes into orbit
University of Nottingham astronomers will be studying icy cosmic dust millions of light years away -- using the biggest space telescope ever built.

Book is the first high-resolution digital mouse brain atlas designed for Web applications
An essential companion to the Allen Brain Atlas online gene expression database-an open access resource generated by The Allen Institute for Brain Science --

Positron emission tomography superior to standard evaluation tools in measuring treatment response
Positron emission tomography was much more sensitive and more accurate than conventional imaging methods in detecting response to treatment in sarcoma patients, according to a UCLA study that is among the first to directly compare PET to CT scanning.

Rounding up gases, nano-style
A new process for catching gas from the environment and holding it indefinitely in molecular-sized containers has been developed by a team of University of Calgary researchers, who say it represents a novel method of gas storage that could yield benefits for capturing, storing and transporting gases more safely and efficiently.

Poxvirus potency uncovered in new atomic map
A new study reveals how poxvirus evolved a very efficient

International effort takes critical steps to accelerate growth of global biofuels market
Led by the world's three major producers of biofuels, an international effort seeks to harmonize standards for bioethanol and biodiesel, two key renewable energy sources and important commodities in the global marketplace.

Growing markets bring potential for rubber and oilseed crops
Changing and growing markets have renewed interest and research on guayule and lesquerella, two native Big Bend plants that might be grown in other parts of Texas, a Texas AgriLife Research scientist said.

Structure of important neurotransmitter regulator determined
Researchers from Virginia Tech and the Brookhaven National Laboratory have solved the structure of an enzyme that is critical in the regulation of the neurotransmitter system in the human brain.

JCI online early table of contents: Feb. 1, 2008
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Feb.

Election 2008: Sleep deprivation a tough opponent for presidential candidates
Keeping a nonstop schedule of personal appearances, interviews and strategy sessions, both the presidential candidates and their campaign staff will struggle to find adequate time for sleep, especially with Super Tuesday just days away.

Dragons of hope: Boat racing improves lives of breast cancer survivors
Breast cancer survivors who participated in dragon boat racing reported significantly improved physical and mental health and coped better with post-recovery trauma, according to a study conducted by Dr.

Depression not discussed during rheumatoid arthritis doctor visits
A new study found that patients whose activities were more restricted due to their arthritis were more than twice as likely to have moderately severe to severe symptoms of depression.

Silymarin does not affect virus activity or ALT levels in
In a survey of patients with chronic hepatitis C who participated in a National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases-sponsored long-term treatment trial for patients who had failed to respond previously to antiviral therapy, approximately 40 percent acknowledged to interviewers at the time of enrollment that they were currently using or had in the recent past used herbal products for health purposes.

Key 'impact hunters' catalyze hunting among male chimpanzees
Male chimpanzees hunt in groups, but among the group, certain chimpanzees are

UW paper in Science shows how some solids mimic liquids on nanoscale
A University of Waterloo physics and astronomy research team, in a paper to be published Feb.

Targeting gut bugs could revolutionize future drugs, say researcher
Revolutionary new ways to tackle certain diseases could be provided by creating drugs which change the bugs in people's guts, according to a new article.

Changes in narcoleptics' skin, core body temperatures affect their vigilance and sleepiness
Among those suffering from narcolepsy, direct manipulations of their skin and core body temperatures affect their vigilance and sleepiness.

Efforts to eliminate tuberculosis in US by 2010 fall far short of benchmarks
The US is likely to fall far short of its benchmark goals toward eliminating tuberculosis as a public health problem, according to data from a nationwide survey.

Timing is everything when using IL-7 to boost antiviral immunity
CD8+ T cells are an important component of the antiviral immune response.

It's all about geometry: Protein contact surfaces hold key to cures
Your mother always told you to do your geometry homework, and for scientists seeking new treatments for diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, this advice turns out to be right on the mark. 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