Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 18, 2008
Satellites can help Arctic grazers survive killer winter storms
Scientists say satellite data could help to save herds of musk oxen and reindeer from starvation when ice storms cut off their food supply.

Will 'botox' be the aspirin of the 21st century?
The journal Medical Hypotheses, an Elsevier publication, has announced the winner of the 2007 David Horrobin Prize for medical theory.

Increased hepcidin expression: A novel oncogenic signalling mechanism
A team led by Dr. Chris Tselepis at the University of Birmingham has investigated for the first time the relationship between hepcidin; a known regulator of iron metabolism and colorectal cancer.

NIST team proves bridge from conventional to molecular electronics possible
NIST researchers have set the stage for building the

Envisat makes first ever observation of regionally elevated CO2 from manmade emissions
Using data from the SCIAMACHY instrument aboard ESA's Envisat environmental satellite, scientists have for the first time detected regionally elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide -- the most important greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming -- originating from manmade emissions.

Arctic pollution's surprising history
Scientists know that air pollution particles from mid-latitude cities migrate to the Arctic and form an ugly haze, but a new University of Utah study finds surprising evidence that polar explorers saw the same phenomenon as early as 1870.

Uric acid may provide early clues to diabetic kidney disease
For patients with type 1 diabetes, increased levels of uric acid in the blood may be an early sign of diabetic kidney disease -- appearing before any significant change in urine albumin level, the standard screening test, reports a study in the May 2008 issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Introspective experiences inform inferences about similar people -- but not dissimilar
Using fMRI scanning, researchers from Harvard University have shown that we use the region of the brain associated with introspection to make inferences about the thoughts and feelings of people that we perceive to be similar, but not those that are dissimilar.

Genetics brings promise of personalized medicine to a variety of specialties
A better understanding of genetics can lead to improvements in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of diseases, according to reports published in the March issues of Archives of Dermatology, Archives of Neurology, Archives of Ophthalmology and Archives of Surgery, four of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Tell them where it hurts
For statues, stress injuries come from standing in place for hundreds of years.

How is H pylori adhesion to gastric cells associated with MUC1 mucin VNTR size?
H pylori infects more than half of the world population.

INCF and Allen Institute for Brain Science collaborate on Brain Atlas service improvement
The International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility and the Allen Institute for Brain Science announced today that the INCF will contribute infrastructure and support services to enhance global access to the Institute's Allen Brain Atlas -- Mouse Brain.

Gene 'knockout' floors tobacco carcinogen
In large-scale field trials, scientists from North Carolina State University have shown that silencing a specific gene in burley tobacco plants significantly reduces harmful carcinogens in cured tobacco leaves.

'At home' genomic tests for disease risk premature
The recent marketing of

Breast cancer radiotherapy can be given in fewer but higher doses (start trials)
Radiotherapy for breast cancer patients can be delivered as a lower overall dose in fewer, larger doses, giving similar tumor control and fewer adverse side effects than current practices.

Variations of stress response gene appear to be predictive of risk of PTSD
Adults who experienced child abuse and have variations of a gene related to stress response appear to be at greater risk of posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms as adults, according to a study in the March 19 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on Genetics and Genomics.

Firearms industry should bear financial liability for homicides involving handguns
George Nation, professor of law and business at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., argues in the April issue of the Baylor Law Review that manufacturers of guns should be required to bear vicarious financial liability for the harm suffered by innocent bystanders who have been injured by the criminal use of their products.

Past child abuse plus variations in gene result in potent PTSD risk for adults
PTSD symptoms were doubled in adults who underwent trauma if they had two key factors: variations in a gene active in the stress-response system and past child abuse.

The song doesn't remain the same in fragmented bird populations
Paola Laiolo and colleagues at the Spanish Council of Research studied the metapopulation system of the Dupont's lark in northeastern Spain, and found an association between individual song diversity and the viability of the population as a whole, as measured by the annual rate of population change.

President's science adviser to address IEEE International Homeland Security Conference
Dr. John Marburger, science adviser to President Bush, will be the keynote speaker at the 2008 IEEE International Conference on Technologies for Homeland Security, May 12-13 at the Westin Hotel in Waltham, Mass.

Tiny torrents
Engineers harnessing the same physical property that drives silent household air purifiers have created a miniaturized device that is now ready for testing as a silent, ultra-thin, low-power and low maintenance cooling system for laptop computers and other electronic devices.

Study finds health professionals, public unprepared for genomic medicine
Advances in genomic medicine for common adult chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer hold promise for improved prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

What change does prokineticin 2/Bv8 have in human hepatocellular carcinoma?
As the focus on molecules involved in tumor vascularization has become a new target for cancer therapy, a team led by Dr.

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News reports on clinical trials in developing countries
Biotechnology companies are increasingly turning to developing nations as sites for clinical trials, reports Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News.

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
The following articles are featured in the March 19 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience:

What is the life cycle of salmonella enteritidis like in the internal organs?
Salmonella enteritidis is one of the main causes of food-borne illness worldwide.

Stopping a receptor called 'nogo' boosts the synapses
New findings about a protein called the nogo receptor are offering fresh ways to think about keeping the brain sharp.

Gene variants associated with increased risk of bone fractures, low bone mineral density
Results from a large study indicate that variants of the gene LRP5 are associated with a significant increase in the risk of fractures, by up to 20 percent, and lower levels of bone mineral density in the spine and hip, according to a study in the March 19 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on Genetics and Genomics.

Research promising for cystic fibrosis
New U of T research holds promise for developing innovative therapies against cystic fibrosis and may also serve as a model for future therapies against the HIV virus.

Scientists successfully awaken sleeping stem cells
Scientists at Schepens Eye Research Institute have discovered what chemical in the eye triggers the dormant capacity of certain non-neuronal cells to transform into progenitor cells, a stem-like cell that can generate new retinal cells.

NIST evaluates firefighting tactics in NYC high-rise test
NIST fire protection engineers turned an abandoned New York City brick high-rise into a seven-story fire laboratory last month to better understand the fast-moving spread of wind-driven flames, smoke and toxic gases through corridors and stairways of burning buildings.

Gene's 'selective signature' aids detection of natural selection in microbial evolution
Scientists at MIT have come up with a mathematical approach for analyzing a protein simultaneously in a set of ecologically distinct species to identify occurrences of natural selection in an organism's evolution.

Does stress damage the brain?
Individuals who experience military combat obviously endure extreme stress, and this exposure leaves many diagnosed with the psychiatric condition of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

What effect does melatonin have in colitis?
A team led by Dr. Alper Akcan from the University of Erciyes has investigated the beneficial effects of exogenous melatonin on bacterial translocation and apoptosis in an experimental colitis model.

Killer stairs? Taking the elevator could be worse for your body
A University of Missouri researcher has found direct evidence to support the claim of the Centers for Disease Control that a reduction in daily physical activity is an actual cause of many of the risk factors for chronic diseases, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

New study changes conditions for Spanish brown bears
Brown bears from the Iberian Peninsula are not as genetically different from other brown bears in Europe as was previously thought.

Family communication impacts attitude about genetic counseling/testing for breast cancer
Whether or not relatives talk about the family's history of cancer significantly impacts attitudes and knowledge about genetic counseling and testing for those at moderate risk of developing breast cancer, according to a new preliminary study presented today at the American Society for Preventive Oncology meeting in Bethesda, Md.

Rabbits to the rescue of the reef
While rabbits continue to ravage Australia's native landscapes, rabbit fish may help save large areas of the Great Barrier Reef from destruction.

What should we do when esophageal perforation occurs?
A team led by Dr. Christian Righini from the University Medical Center of Grenoble reports a case of cervical cellulitis and mediastinitis following esophageal perforation with chicken bone.

New choices bring wider range of women to family planning
A study in the March 2008 issue of the journal Contraception reports that the Standard Days Method, a natural family planning method developed by researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center's Institute for Reproductive Health, brings new women to family planning.

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation announces $5 million initiative to enhance care for adults with CF
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation today announced the launch of a new $5 million initiative to enhance care for the growing adult CF population.

IU Health & Wellness: Research and insights from Indiana University
IU researchers examined the vascular response to exercise in overweight men, finding a dramatic difference between active and inactive men.

Springer to publish new journal focusing on ethical issues in neuroscience
Springer will begin publishing a new peer-reviewed journal, Neuroethics, in March 2008.

Grape skin compound fights the complications of diabetes
Research carried out by scientists at the Peninsula Medical School in the South West of England has found that resveratrol, a compound present naturally in grape skin, can protect against the cellular damage to blood vessels caused by high production of glucose in diabetes, according to a paper published in the science journal

Canine influenza was around as early as 1999
The canine influenza virus, first identified in 2004, had been circulating in the greyhound population for at least five years prior to its discovery and may have been responsible for numerous outbreaks of respiratory disease among dogs at racing tracks during that period, according to research presented today at the 2008 International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Gene and activity level of HDL-associated protein linked to risk of heart disease
The gene for the HDL-associated protein paraoxonase 1 appears to be associated with coronary artery disease and with the risk of developing adverse cardiac events, and variations in both the PON1 gene and its related enzyme activity may increase the risk for cardiovascular disease events, according to a study in the March 19 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on Genetics and Genomics.

Solving an avian scourge could also provide benefits to human health
The old adage 'a bird in hand is worth two in the bush' may very well apply to a new vaccine project underway in the lab of ASU School of Life Sciences Professor Roy Curtiss, director of the Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology at the Biodesign Institute.

New technique improves outcome for living donor liver transplants
Thanks to a review paper done at the University of Alberta radiologists at the University of Alberta Hospital are now using CT imaging for living-donor liver transplantation.

A new method of pancreaticojejunostomy?
A team led by Dr. Kenichi Hakamada from Hirosaki University, Japan, has developed a new method of pancreaticojejunostomy with a fast-absorbable suture material, irradiated polyglactin 910, and a temporary stent tube to overcome the technical difficulties of performing a pancreaticoenterostomy of a soft pancreas with a narrow pancreatic duct.

How does P wave dispersion change in patients with Wilson's disease?
A multidisciplinary team including researchers from cardiology and gastroenterology clinics of Ankara Yuksek Ihtisas Hospital and Department of Gastroenterology of Faculty of Medicine University of Ankara have analyzed a new methodology called

Lithium chloride slows onset of skeletal muscle disorder
A new UC-Irvine study finds that lithium chloride, a drug used to treat bipolar disorder, can slow the development of inclusion body myositis, a skeletal muscle disease that affects the elderly.

Just 2% of child drug trials included independent safety checks says review of over 700 studies
Child health experts have called for all child drug trials to have independent safety monitoring committees after a review of 739 trials found that only 2 percent reported using this extra safety measure.

Queensland researchers get the latest tools to fight cancer
University of Queensland researchers will be at the forefront of fighting cancer thanks to a new $3.2 million grant from the Australian Cancer Research Foundation.

A built-in strategy for transgene containment
A method of creating selective terminable transgenic rice was reported by the scientists of Zhejiang University in this week's PLoS ONE.

NIST finds 'metafilms' can shrink radio, radar devices
Recent research at NIST has demonstrated that thin films made of

European membrane expertise to focus on new treatments for human diseases
A new 15-million-euro project led by the University of Leeds aims to find novel treatments for many human diseases by bringing together the leading European experts in membrane proteins.

Spring training for parents?
Spring training for parents isn't a bad idea because as cries of

Tell them where it hurts
For statues, stress injuries come from standing in place for hundreds of years.

IUPUI scientists report first 3-D view of anti-cancer agent
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis researchers have created the first 3-D image of how a well-established chemotherapy agent targets and binds to DNA.

UC San Diego scientists develop sensors for homemade bombs
A team of chemists and physicists at the University of California, San Diego has developed a tiny, inexpensive sensor chip capable of detecting trace amounts of hydrogen peroxide, a chemical used in the most common form of homemade explosives.

Julia Quinlan to present awards at a conference hosted by Rutgers College of Nursing
Julia Duane Quinlan, mother of Karen Ann Quinlan, whose legal battle to remove her daughter from a respirator changed the use of life-support for the dying, will present the second annual Joe and Julia Quinlan Award to Dr.

Vegan diet promotes atheroprotective antibodies in patients with rheumatoid arthritis
A gluten-free vegan diet may improve the health of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, according to new research from the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet.

Springer author receives top award from Templeton Foundation
Michael Heller, 72, a Polish cosmologist, Catholic priest and philosopher, has won the 2008 Templeton Prize, valued at more than $1.6 million.

Applying genomic medicine into clinical practice for chronic diseases still in the early stages
A large gap exists between what knowledge is available about genomic medicine and incorporating it into clinical practice for assessing the risk of and treating common chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, and cancer, according to a systematic review in the March 19 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on Genetics and Genomics.

52 minority scientists receive travel fellowships to Experimental Biology 2008
One of the nation's oldest and most respected science organizations will provide more than $86,000 in travel fellowships to underrepresented minority students and scientists to attend the Experimental Biology conference in San Diego.

Unmanned aerial vehicles mark robotic first for British Antarctic Survey
Scientists at British Antarctic Survey in collaboration with the Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany have completed the first ever series of flights by autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles in Antarctica.

Only 2 percent of child drug trials have independent safety checks
Only two percent of pediatric drug trials reported using independent safety monitoring committees that can help lead to the early detection of adverse drug reactions, according to a major review published in the journal Acta Paediatrica.

Loopy photons clarify 'spookiness' of quantum physics
NIST and University of Maryland researchers have developed a new method for creating pairs of entangled photons, particles of light whose properties are interlinked in a very unusual way dictated by the rules of quantum physics.

Rwanda conservation effort to link isolated chimps to distant forest
Some 15 chimpanzees facing extinction in an isolated Rwandan forest have a greater chance for survival thanks to one of Africa's most ambitious forest restoration efforts ever.

Mekong schistosomiasis is more widespread than previously thought
A new genetic analysis, published March 19 in the open-access journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, suggests that the parasitic worm Schistosoma mekongi is more widespread than previously thought.

Do bacterial combinations result in enhanced cytokine production? No!
A comparative study of six different probiotic bacteria strains that induce cytokine production has found that the probiotic S. thermophilus and Leuconostoc strains are more potent inducers of Th1 type cytokines IL-12 and IFN-ƒ× than the probiotic Lactobacillus strains.

The regulation of negative emotions: impact on brain activity
Emotions play an important role in the lives of humans, and influence our behavior, thoughts, decisions and interactions.

Researchers find 1 in 6 women, 1 in 10 men at risk for Alzheimer's disease in their lifetime
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine have estimated that one in six women are at risk for developing Alzheimer's disease in their lifetime, while the risk for men is one in ten.

Pneumococcal disease rates down significantly post-vaccine
Since the approval of a vaccine against pneumococcal bacteria for young children in 2000, rates of invasive pneumococcal disease are down significantly in all age groups, while rates of IPD caused by nonvaccine strains are modestly on the rise.

Preventing school violence needs to start at young age
By the time a child enters third grade, it may be too late to change behavioral issues that could lead to more serious problems later in life, including violent and aggressive behavior.

Cutting-edge computational molecular biology research featured in Genome Research
Genome Research is publishing several papers in coordination with the upcoming RECOMB 2008 Conference in Singapore.

Scans spot hidden tumors in rare cancer syndrome
Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute report that full-body PET/CT scanning detected unsuspected, treatable tumors in 3 of 15 patients with Li-Fraumeni syndrome, a rare genetic cancer syndrome for which no screening tests have been recommended.

Researchers say Arctic sea ice still at risk despite cold winter
Using the latest satellite observations, NASA researchers and others report that the Arctic is still on

High-tech interrogations may promote abuse
There is evidence that brain imaging technology is being used to interrogate suspected terrorists despite concerns that it may not be reliable, and that it might inadvertently promote abuse of detainees, according to a Penn State researcher.

Reducing HD risk naturally post-menopause
Aerobic exercise significantly decreased the chemical imbalances that can lead to heart disease and stroke in postmenopausal women according to a study in the spring issue of the Journal of Women and Aging. 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