Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 27, 2008
Scripps research scientists devise approach that stops HIV at earliest stage of infection
Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute have developed a new two-punch strategy against HIV and they have already successfully tested aspects of it in the laboratory.

Children's under-achievement could be down to poor working memory
Children who under-achieve at school may just have poor working memory rather than low intelligence according to researchers who have produced the world's first tool to assess memory capacity in the classroom.

Twanging rat whiskers yields insight into sensing machinery
High-speed video of rats using their whiskers to explore different surfaces has given researchers significant insights into the subtle mechanics of their tactile sensory system.

Data show a decline in cystic fibrosis since introduction of prenatal carrier screening
A brief report in the Feb. 28, 2008, New England Journal of Medicine, led by researchers at the New England Newborn Screening Program of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, indicates a declining incidence of the genetic disease cystic fibrosis, providing what may be the first demonstration of a link between two independent population-based screening programs.

Does gingko biloba affect memory?
Taking the supplement ginkgo biloba had no clear-cut benefit on the risk of developing memory problems, according to a study published in the Feb.

New blood marker may predict prostate cancer spread
Researchers report finding a new blood biomarker that enables close to 98 percent accuracy in predicting the spread of prostate cancer to regional lymph nodes.

Stanford physicist aids search for dark matter deep in Minnesota mine
A consortium of research scientists, including Stanford physicist Blas Cabrera, have built the world's most sensitive WIMP detectors in an attempt to catch some of those mysterious particles of dark matter.

Stress and fear can affect cancer's recurrence
A Tel Aviv University scientist shows that mind may indeed matter.

Research leading to tools for managing bovine respiratory disease complex
Bovine respiratory disease complex costs the beef industry more than any other disease -- an estimated $690 million in 2006, according to one report.

Overweight Hispanic children shown to have vascular inflammation
Overweight Hispanic children with normal blood glucose levels showed elevated markers for blood vessel inflammation that may predispose them to developing both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

UT Knoxville research may lead to better flu vaccine
New research from a scientist at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has uncovered information that may someday lead to a better flu vaccine.

Researchers offer new theory for dogfish and skate population outburst on George's Bank
New research by scientists at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Chesapeake Biological Laboratory questions the long-held belief that a lack of predators and competitors was the primary cause for the increase of skates and dogfish observed in Southern New England's George's Bank following overfishing of commercially important species in the 1980's.

The evolution of aversion: Why even children are fearful of snakes
Some of the oldest tales and wisest mythology allude to the snake as a mischievous seducer, dangerous foe or powerful iconoclast; however, the legend surrounding this proverbial predator may not be based solely on fantasy.

New research suggests biofuel blending is often inaccurate
While sampling blended biodiesel fuels purchased from small-scale retailers, researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution found that many of the blends do not contain the advertised amount of biofuel.

Exercise and caloric restriction may be treatment method for metabolic syndrome
What is metabolic syndrome and why do one in four Americans have it?

Bacteria beware: MIT student invents knock-out punch for antibiotic resistance
MIT graduate student and synthetic biologist Timothy Lu is passionate about tackling problems that pose threats to human health.

New research indicates that a common heart drug
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School have found that diltiazem, a drug used in the treatment of high blood pressure, reduces cocaine cravings in a rat model.

Joslin study finds restricting insulin doses increases mortality risk
A new study from the Joslin Diabetes Center has found that women with type 1 diabetes who reported taking less insulin than prescribed had a three-fold increased risk of death and higher rates of disease complications than those who did not skip needed insulin shots.

'2-faced' particles act like tiny submarines
For the first time, researchers at North Carolina State University have demonstrated that microscopic

Exeter scientists pour cold water on EU bird policy
New research from the University of Exeter in collaboration with the University of Texas at Austin published in the journal Science questions claims that EU conservation policy has been successful in protecting endangered birds.

Study finds future 'battlegrounds' for conservation very different to those in past
Biologists at the University of California, San Diego have developed a series of global maps that show where projected habitat loss and climate change are expected to drive the need for future reserves to prevent biodiversity loss.

Earlier plantings underlie yield gains in northern Corn Belt
US farmers plant corn much earlier today than ever before and it seems to be paying off, at least in the north.

Breakthrough in plant research
The research groups of the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences of the University of Helsinki and the University of California in San Diego have discovered a gene that is centrally involved in the regulation of carbon dioxide uptake for photosynthesis and water evaporation in plants.

Scripps scientists studying sepsis in mice find potential drug targets for deadly disease
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have uncovered a connection between blood coagulation and the immune system that may have important implications for people with sepsis, a severe and difficult to treat disease that kills tens of thousands of Americans a year.

Guide provides insight into urban forestry benefits
The US Forest Service's Center for Urban Forest Research has released a guide demonstrating how trees benefit cities in temperate parts of the West such as Southern California, Central Idaho and the Oregon Coast.

'Lost' sediments show details of polar magnetic field
UC Davis researchers studying cores of sediment collected 40 years ago have found evidence for magnetic field vortices in the Earth's core beneath the South Pole.

What banged?
On Wednesday, March 5, at 7 p.m., Perimeter Institute will examine this deep mystery in science with pre-eminent physicist Dr.

Neurons use chemical 'chords' to shape signaling
Researchers have discovered that neurons can use two different neurotransmitters that target the same receptor on a receiving neuron to shape the transmission of a nerve impulse.

UCLA launches network to study health care disparities affecting minorities
The UCLA Department of Family Medicine, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has launched the Network for Multicultural Research on Health and Healthcare, a group that will study health care disparities affecting minorities with chronic diseases.

Leicester scientist announces 'unexpected and exciting advance' in study of cancer type
Hope Against Cancer provide new funding for research into lymphoblastic leukemia.

US Dept. of Homeland Security selects Stevens to lead national research effort in port security
The US Department of Homeland Security has announced the selection of Stevens Institute of Technology as one of 11 universities to serve as important partners for conducting multidisciplinary research and creating innovative learning environments for critical homeland security missions.

UCLA researchers solve decade-old mystery
Researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, with the use of molecular dynamics simulations, have solved a decade old mystery that could one day lead to commercially practical designs of storage materials for use in environmentally friendly hydrogen gas fueled vehicles.

Urban forestry highlighted at San Francisco Flower and Garden Show
Urban forestry experts with the US Forest Service, Cal Fire, U.C. cooperative extension service and citizens' groups will be leading seminars and staffing exhibits at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show to discuss the importance of urban forestry in the Bay area.

U of Minnesota study finds thalidomide shows promise for treatment of recurrent ovarian cancer
Thalidomide, a drug blamed in the 1950s for causing birth defects, is now showing promise as a safe and effective treatment for women with recurrent ovarian cancer, according to a study led by a University of Minnesota Cancer Center researcher.

Chewing gum -- the new post-operative medicine
New research has resulted in an immediate change in the way physicians treat their patients -- giving them chewing gum to speed recovery following stomach-related surgery.

Breast cancer subtypes linked to survival from secondary brain tumors
Screening breast cancers for three receptors could help doctors predict the likely survival of patients with brain metastases.

Cause of effectiveness discovered for a cirrhosis treatment useful in 40 percent of patients
Scientists of the Center for Applied Medical Research of the University of Navarra have discovered the molecular mechanism responsible for the effectiveness of an existing treatment for primary biliary cirrhosis, which combines two substances in order to produce an effect that does not result from either substance separately.

Gene that controls ozone resistance of plants could lead to drought-resistant crops
Biologists at the University of California-San Diego, working with collaborators at the University of Helsinki in Finland and two other European institutions, have elucidated the mechanism of a plant gene that controls the amount of atmospheric ozone entering a plant's leaves.

Science books delve into Egyptian history
Fans of the ancient Egyptians will be interested to know that University of Manchester Egyptologists have published two new books.

Women's greater role in nation-building
Women's participation in post-conflict nation-building is an important ingredient in achieving an equitable, peaceful and more prosperous society, according to a RAND Corporation study released today.

U of Minn researchers find primary alcohol prevention programs are needed for 'tweens'
A study by the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and the University of Florida suggests that

Researchers collaborate to find new vaccine technology decreases E. coli in beef cattle
K-State and West Texas A&M researchers collaborated on a study of the effects of a novel vaccine technology to make beef safer.

Inverted DNA turns quiet developmental gene into a potent driver of t-cell lymphoma
A chromosomal flip turns a gene crucial for embryonic development into a potent promoter of lymphoma in adult mice, according to researchers from Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Race, insurance status affect access to transplantation and kidney disease treatment
Universal access to health care might help to overcome racial and ethnic barriers to treatment for kidney disease, suggest two studies in the March 2008 issue of Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

APIC selected as faculty in Blue Shield of California Foundation initiative to fight HAIs
The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology today announced that it has been selected by Blue Shield of California Foundation to participate in a statewide effort to reduce health-care-associated infections.

Scientists look at 'syringe' assembly in plague bacteria
Bacteria that cause the bubonic plague avoid death in our bodies by injecting our cells with immune evasion proteins.

Fighting Aussie yabbies don't forget a face -- new research by the University of Melbourne
The fighting Australian yabby does not forget the face of its foes says new research from University of Melbourne zoologists.

MIT researchers catch rats' twitchy whiskers in action
Rats use their whiskers in a way that is closely related to the human sense of touch: Just as humans move their fingertips across a surface to perceive shapes and textures, rats twitch their whiskers to achieve the same goal.

Keystone Programs for Collaborative Discovery Launch at Fox Chase
Fox Chase Cancer Center today announced the first four awards in an innovative new research program designed to bring the power of team-based science to bear on some of the most significant questions in cancer research.

Detecting bone erosion in arthritic wrists
Both magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography are more sensitive than radiography -- the standard imaging technique -- for detecting bone erosions in rheumatoid arthritis, according to research published in the open access journal Arthritis Research & Therapy.

Urine protein may be present before hypertension diagnosis in at-risk adolescents
A protein that is an early indicator of kidney dysfunction in adults may predict hypertension in black adolescents, Medical College of Georgia researchers have found.

New drug targets for preventing cell death
A new compound that blocks an early step in cell death could lead to a novel class of drugs for treating heart attacks and stroke.

AGA Institute applauds delay of Aetna sedation restrictions
Aetna has announced that, based on input from the AGA Institute and discussions with a number of gastroenterologists, it will not implement Clinical Policy Bulletin 0740 on April 1, 2008, as planned.

Why juniper trees can live on less water
An ability to avoid the plant equivalent of vapor lock and a favorable evolutionary history may explain the unusual drought resistance of junipers, some varieties of which are now spreading rapidly in water-starved regions of the western United States, a Duke University study has found.

This is your brain on jazz: researchers use MRI to study spontaneity, creativity
A pair of Johns Hopkins and government scientists have discovered that when jazz musicians improvise, their brains turn off areas linked to self-censoring and inhibition, and turn on those that let self-expression flow.

VBI, Mayo Clinic investigate link between fungal proteins, innate immunity and asthma
By understanding how the innate immune system responds to environmental stimuli and helps shape the adaptive immune system, scientists hope in the long term to develop more specific therapies as well as prevention strategies for bronchial diseases. 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